Following a Sept. 28 robbery at Monkey Hill Bar (6100 Magazine St., 504-899-4800; www.monkeyhillbar.com), the third in a series of brazen robberies at Uptown business, including two restaurants, the Louisiana Restaurant Association (www.lra.org) donated $5,000 toward a Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans (www.crimestoppersgno.org) reward.
The total reward reached $30,000 following the Tuesday announcement at a press conference featuring Mayor Mitch Landrieu, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite and members of the New Orleans City Council and Crimestoppers.
Calling the crimes a "conspiracy," Landrieu said city authorities are combining their efforts to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the robberies. If the three robberies are connected, the suspects could face federal prosecution, Polite said. Harrison acknowledged the similarities between the incidents but said there is insufficient evidence to link the crimes.
"Because New Orleans is such a beloved town for food and specifically a destination for food tourism it is imperative that these individuals are apprehended as quickly as possible," said Wendy Waren, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Restaurant Association.
Waren says the organization works with members on crime prevention tools, including tips on how to run a restaurant safely. "Criminals look for two things when selecting a target: lots of cash and an easy getaway," she says. Making sure a building is equipped with proper lighting, surveillance cameras and minimal landscaping help to make restaurants less of a target for criminals, she adds. The organization posts safety tips on its website.