New Orleans — A 15-year-old New Orleans boy has been arrested after police say he robbed several people in the French Quarter within hours on Tuesday night.
The teenager, who was not identified because of his age, is accused of targeting iPhones in each of the incidents, and in one incident using the ruse of asking for the time to get access to the device. Police say the boy was armed with a handgun.
The first incident was reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Royal Street, when two victims said the teenager approached them brandishing a weapon. The boy demanded their phones, and after one victim complied, the boy fled on foot, police said.
A few minutes later and few blocks away, a man reported that a teenager came up to him asking for the time in the 2100 block of North Rampart Street. When the man pulled out his iPhone, the robber flashed a weapon and demanded he hand it over. After getting the device, the robber again fled on foot.
Two hours later in the 600 block of Frenchmen Street, a man and woman were taking pictures when a robber approached them, demanded their phones and again fled on foot. By this time, police were able to track down the robber using location services associated with the phones.
Eighth District detectives tracked the devices to the 5300 block of Urquhart Street, where they found them, the boy and a handgun, said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman. Police say the weapon had been reported stolen from Slidell.
Superintendent Ronal Serpas commended his officers on their fast work.
“This is yet another case that demonstrates our officer’s dedication and commitment to protecting the people they serve,” Serpas said in a statement.
Police also investigated another theft involving an iPhone in the 5800 block of Clara Street shortly after 8 p.m., but they do not believe the incident is connected to the French Quarter crimes. In that crime, a woman was getting out of her vehicle when a bandit walked up to her and demanded her phone and purse. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.