Man gets 18 months for trying to blow up truck, and other New Orleans-area police news

Man who tried to blow up truck gets 18 months

A New Orleans man was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for attempting to blow up his pickup in the parking lot of a Mid-City bank.

Gregory Alexander, 36, pleaded guilty in August to unlawfully possessing multiple destructive devices. Authorities have said he made several small explosive devices in an effort to blow up his truck.

Alexander parked his truck behind the Whitney Bank at North Jefferson Davis Parkway and Canal Street on Feb. 25. According to court documents, he wanted to set the vehicle on fire, claim it had been stolen and collect the insurance money.

A police officer found the truck, which contained at least one smoldering device. Court documents said Alexander lit at least one of the explosives, but it apparently fizzled out.

Authorities evacuated businesses and homes around the area. The intersection was closed for hours as the New Orleans Police Department’s bomb squad worked to remove items from the truck.

Alexander faces two years of supervised release after his prison sentence.

Search broadens for missing Slidell woman

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are widening their search for Crystal Friedman, 28, a Slidell mother who has been missing since Sunday night.

Friedman was last seen at Natal’s, a bar on La. 11. She left the bar, and surveillance camera footage shows her purchasing alcohol, cigarettes and food at a nearby gas station before heading south on La. 11 near Eden Isles just before midnight.

Deputies have learned she expressed an interest in going to Crazy Al’s, a bar on the south shore near Fort Pike, Sheriff’s Office spokesman George Bonnett said in a news release.

Boats equipped with sonar to try to locate Friedman’s Hyundai Sonata searched the Lake Pontchartrain waters around the La. 11 bridge Friday while a helicopter searched from the air.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have seen Friedman, mother of a 3-year-old son, on Sunday night to call 911.

NOFD recovers suicide victim’s body from lake

New Orleans firefighters recovered the body of a man Friday who a day before shot himself in the head and fell into Lake Pontchartrain.

Construction workers working on the sea wall reported Thursday morning that the man, who was not identified, fell into the lake in the 8000 block of Lakeshore Drive after he shot himself about 10 a.m.

Fire Department and police boats were dispatched to the scene and searched the area until dusk but found nothing.

About 10 a.m. Friday, the man was found about 6 feet from the seawall.