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Home --> Hurricane Katrina --> Crime --> Carjackings

Carjackings

Claim:   E-mail details purported increase in carjackings and release of sex offenders after Hurricane Katrina.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, 2005]

Some of you may have seen the news yesterday where a woman was carjacked at Cobb Parkway and Highway 92 (Acworth). While fleeing, the carjacker crashed into a cement truck and the victim was killed instantly. (She was 30 yrs. old and a mother of two small toddlers) As the carjacker was fleeing, (with a gun) a citizen shot and killed him! (thankfully). The police think this is the same man who raped a woman last weekend, (school teacher 2 months away from retirement), took her to her bank and had her! clean out her ATM, and then stabbed her! (thankfully she did not die). The police also think this man is from New Orleans.

Today here at the office we had a patient who came in who is a 9-1-1 operator. She said that calls are coming in like crazy over the past 2 weeks with carjackings! (right around the time we have had this influx of new residents!)

You won't hear this on the news as the media will not let this out.... But I did hear on Fox News this morning that there are 4,500 sex offenders that were let out of prison in New Orleans that have NOT re-registered! All the communities who have taken in these folks are now at risk.

The purpose of this email is to put all of you on ALERT! Lock your car doors the minute you get in. Keep your homes locked. This is not the same community we had 2 weeks ago. Hopefully things will get back to normal but be AWARE!

Please let others know about this, as I would feel horrible if something happened to one of my friends or family members and I had this! knowledge.

Be Safe!

Origins:   Crime is nearly always an issue after an upheaval such as the flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as the efforts of law enforcement agents are generally directed elsewhere
(e.g., maintaining general order, aiding in search and rescue efforts) and residents may be driven out of the area and thus be unable to protect their homes and businesses. Although the incidence of crime may rise in such circumstances, it rarely rises to the exaggerated levels reported by rumors that inevitably grow out of such disasters. "Criminals are being let out of prisons to freely roam the streets!" tales are common in the aftermath of events that cause widespread upheaval because they so vividly and neatly convey a sense of a total disruption of the social order — it's a world gone mad, they say, in which innocent victims of disaster must remain on guard to protect themselves and their property against the depredations of felons now loosed to prey upon them.

The motif of rampant criminals on the loose is well represented by the anonymous e-mail quoted above, which maintains that the post-Katrina Gulf Coast has seen a rash of carjackings and thousands of convicted sex offenders summarily released from prisons. Like many such accounts, it appears to be a structure of wild exaggeration built upon a thin foundation of facts. Taking the various claims in order, we find:
  • Some of you may have seen the news yesterday where a woman was carjacked at Cobb Parkway and Highway 92 (Acworth). While fleeing, the carjacker crashed into a cement truck and the victim was killed instantly. (She was 30 yrs. old and a mother of two small toddlers) As the carjacker was fleeing, (with a gun) a citizen shot and killed him! (thankfully).
    On 12 September 2005 in Acworth, Georgia, 30-year-old Kimberly Boyd was kidnapped at gunpoint when 25-year-old Brian O'Neil Clark forced his way into the Toyota Sequoia SUV she was driving. Clark took over behind the wheel and subsequently drove the vehicle into the path of a cement truck, resulting in a collision that killed Ms. Boyd. (Police reported that Kimberly Boyd had already been shot in a struggle with her abductor, but she was still alive at the time of the accident.) Motorist Shawn Roberts saw Kimberly Boyd struggling with her abductor and began following her SUV, then shot Brian Clark dead as he exited the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene of the collision.
  • The police think this is the same man who raped a woman last weekend, (school teacher 2 months away from retirement), took her to her bank and had her! clean out her ATM, and then stabbed her! (thankfully she did not die). The police also think this man is from New Orleans.
    On 6 September 2005, an Acworth woman was confronted by a man armed with both a gun and a knife as she exited her house; the man then forced her back inside, raped her, and made her drive to a bank to withdraw money from her account through an ATM. The victim instead ran into the bank to summon help, and her assailant drove off in her car. On 16 September, the Acworth Police Department confirmed that a gun recovered at the scene of the fatal accident that killed Kimberly Boyd had been stolen from the residence of the Acworth woman who was raped ten days earlier, thus linking Brian O'Neil Clark to both crimes.

    Although he may have claimed to his first victim that he was a New Orleans resident displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Clark is in fact a Georgia resident with a criminal record in that state which includes convictions on charges of child molestation and statutory rape.
  • Today here at the office we had a patient who came in who is a 9-1-1 operator. She said that calls are coming in like crazy over the past 2 weeks with carjackings! (right around the time we have had this influx of new residents!)
    "Here" is an indefinite locale, but assuming it refers to the area of Acworth, Georgia (where the rape and carjacking detailed above took place), we haven't been able to find any other accounts of carjackings taking place in that area since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August 2005.
  • You won't hear this on the news as the media will not let this out.... But I did hear on Fox News this morning that there are 4,500 sex offenders that were let out of prison in New Orleans that have NOT re-registered! All the communities who have taken in these folks are now at risk.
    This statement is a case of one piece of information's being garbled into something quite different and far more sinister. What the Lousiana Department of Corrections reported was that nearly 4,500 registered sex offenders lived in the 14 parishes hit by Hurricane Katrina — these were not criminals who were simply let out of prison after the storm hit, but persons convicted of sex-related crimes who had already served their sentences or were on probation and were therefore required to maintain their current addresses in the state's database of sex offenders.

    Unlike other states such as Florida, Louisiana has no policy requiring the jailing of some registered sex offenders during storms or evacuations, so many of those listed in the state's sex offender database likely ended up in shelters or other communities throughout Louisiana, or possibly in other states.

    We remain puzzled about how the anonymous author of this piece could claim to have heard about the "4,500 sex offenders that were let out of prison" on a national news program while simultaneously maintaining that "You won't hear this on the news as the media will not let this out."

Last updated:   17 September 2005

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  Sources Sources:
    Plummer, Don.   "Woman: Assailant Claimed to Be Storm Evacuee."
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   6 September 2005.


    Plummer, Don.   "Abductor Linked to Rape Case, Police Say."
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   17 September 2005.


    Associated Press.   "Registered Sex Offenders Among Evacuees."
    [New York] Newsday.   10 September 2005.


    Associated Press.   "Slain Carjacking Suspect Was Convicted Sex Offender."
    AccessNorthGa.com.   14 September 2005.