Two rapes reported in quick succession, and other New Orleans-area police news

2 rapes 4 hours apart reported in 7th Ward

Detectives were investigating two rapes reported within hours late Wednesday and early Thursday in the same block of the 7th Ward.

The first rape was reported at 9:54 p.m. Wednesday in the 1900 block of Columbus Street.

According to a daily New Orleans Police Department log, the victim was forced to have sex. No other details were provided.

At 2:14 a.m. Thursday, another rape was reported in the same block.

In that incident, the victim also was forced to have sex. Again, no other details were provided in the police log.

The incident log noted a “known perpetrator” was arrested, but police did not respond to a request for his name.

2 plead to attempted bribery of chief

A convenience store owner and another man pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to bribe Harahan Police Chief Mac Dickinson last year in an attempt to gain his help obtaining a liquor permit.

Zuhair Ameer Hamed, 51, and Jihad Hatem Hamad, 27, both of Gretna, were charged with conspiracy to bribe a local government official, according to acting U.S. Attorney Dana Boente’s office.

The FBI opened an investigation in April 2012 after Dickinson reported Hamed and Hamad’s offer to pay him for his assistance. Dickinson then worked with the FBI in an undercover capacity.

In March 2012, Hamad approached Dickinson, telling him he had a wealthy father who was willing to make a campaign contribution to the police chief if he would approve a “high volume” liquor license for his business, Harahan Cheap Smokes. The store already had a permit to sell beer, but could not sell wine or liquor.

Dickinson was opposed to the liquor permit because the business was within 300 feet of a church. In Harahan, the police chief must sign off on the sale of hard liquor, according to court documents.

Not knowing that Dickinson was a cooperating witness, Hamed, acting on behalf of Hamad, met several times with the police chief.

He gave the official a $2,000 check and $1,000 in cash, according to the document filed into the court record.

In June 2012, both Hamad and Hamed met with Dickinson to discuss how much money the convenience store was losing because it couldn’t expand its alcohol sales.

Previous documents filed into the court record revealed that the conversations between Dickinson and the two other men were recorded.

The men each face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for Oct. 31.

Boente, in a news release, commended Dickinson for his help with the investigation.

Street gang member gets 30-year sentence

A Gretna man will serve 30 years in prison for his role in a West Bank drug ring.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk handed down the 360-month sentence to Monterio Wiggins, 22, after he pleaded guilty to racketeering, gun and drug charges.

Wiggins was a member of the “Harvey Hustlers,” a street gang that federal authorities claim terrorized portions of the West Bank through intimidation and violence while operating a drug ring. More than a dozen of Wiggins’ co-defendants already have pleaded guilty in the case.

Wiggins admitted that he was a part of a faction known as the “Murder Squad,” and that he participated in the killing of Reginald Francois on April 1, 2010.

Wiggins will face 10 years of supervised release after his prison term ends.

Online acquaintance robs man in 6th Ward

A man was robbed Wednesday evening after he went to a 6th Ward home to see a woman he met on Craigslist, New Orleans police said.

When the 42-year-old man arrived at the home in the 2600 block of Governor Nicholls Street about 5:31 p.m., the woman and an accomplice pulled out a knife and demanded the victim’s wallet.

Police did not provide a description of either robber.

Woman pleads guilty to financial-aid fraud

A Marrero woman pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of financial aid fraud related to college money for her daughter.

According to court documents, Shanera Washington-Sylve, 46, submitted false Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms, on behalf of her daughter for the 2009 through 2013 academic years, falsely stating that she was single.

In turn, her daughter fraudulently received about $23,196 in federal Pell Grants.

Washington-Sylve faces up to five years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Her sentencing is set for Oct. 24.

Woman struck, killed
on Gause Boulevard

A woman standing on Slidell’s Gause Boulevard near Cross Gates Boulevard died Wednesday after she was hit by a car traveling through the intersection, State Police said. The woman’s name was not released.

The accident occurred around 10:30 p.m., Trooper Nick Manale said. Investigation showed the woman was standing in the left westbound lane when a 2006 Nissan Sentra hit her, he said.

The driver of the Sentra, David DeSalvo, 31, of Slidell, was not injured. He submitted to a breath-alcohol test showing he was not intoxicated, Manale said.

The woman was transported to Ochsner Northshore Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. A toxicology test on the victim is pending.

Troopers were working to locate and notify the woman’s family before releasing her identity, Manale said.

Compiled from staff reports