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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Four indicted in New Orleans restaurant robberies

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 3:21 PM

Four men were indicted on charges of armed robbery Wednesday, Jan. 20 following a string of robberies at Atchafalaya, Patois and Monkey Hill Bar last summer. - COURTESY ATCHAFALAYA/FACEBOOK
  • COURTESY ATCHAFALAYA/FACEBOOK
  • Four men were indicted on charges of armed robbery Wednesday, Jan. 20 following a string of robberies at Atchafalaya, Patois and Monkey Hill Bar last summer.

It’s been five months since police say a group of brazen gunmen wreaked havoc on New Orleans diners and restaurant employees, holding them up during meals, sometimes forcing them to the ground at gunpoint, ultimately fleeing with cash and belongings, leaving guests and staff terrified.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 authorities announced indictments had been secured in the arrests of four men suspected of robbing patrons at Patois, Atchafalaya and Monkey Hill Bar in a five-week span last summer.

Wesley Davis, 19, Jockquaren Van Norman, 20, Dwayne Stevenson, 20, and Nicholas Spiller, 22, all face multiple counts of armed robbery in connection to the incidents, police said. All four men are currently in custody. 

The first of the events took place at Patois (6078 Laurel St., 504-895-9441) shortly before 11 p.m. Aug. 20. Police say three masked suspects rushed the restaurant, forcing a group of diners and the restaurant’s staff to hand over belongings at gunpoint. On Sept. 24, two masked men wearing hooded sweatshirts and armed with guns walked into Atchafalaya (901 Louisiana Ave., 504-891-9626) around 9:45 p.m. and stole cash from the bar and property from diners and employees. On Sept. 28, three suspects brandishing guns stormed Magazine Street’s Monkey Hill Bar (6100 Magazine St., 504-899-4800) shortly after 8 p.m. and stole cash from the businesses’ register and property from employees and patrons before fleeing the scene.

No one was hurt during the robberies, but the events caused outcry from citizens and prompted many uptown establishments to hire private details during their busiest dining hours. Following a joint investigation by NOPD detectives, members of the FBI New Orleans Violent Crimes Task Force, the ATF and district attorney’s office, a grand jury returned indictments for all four men Wednesday.
 
“From the very first incident, we made a commitment to use every available resource to track down the suspects responsible for these crimes and bring them to justice, and we did,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said in a prepared statement. “Given the initial evidence, this was a difficult case to tackle, but we put together a smart team to get it done and do it right. Our officers worked upwards of 12-16 hours per day to gather intelligence, review surveillance video, interview witnesses, follow every lead, and put together a strong case against these suspects. We will continue to strongly pursue this investigation and we will not stop until everyone responsible is off the street.”


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