NEW ORLEANS—The Kenner Police Department has identified a man arrested Sunday in New Orleans as the person responsible for three robberies involving a man stopping victims claiming to be a police officer within the City of Kenner, and then robbing them.
On Monday, the New Orleans Police Department contacted the Kenner Police Department concerning the Sunday arrest of Van Gabriel, 47, who provided the home address 2430 Barracks Street, in New Orleans. Gabriel had been arrested in New Orleans for armed robbery, false personation of a peace officer, and criminal mischief. Gabriel was arrested following an incident in which he committed a robbery while impersonating a police officer then crashing his Ford pickup truck in New Orleans.
Kenner Police detectives noted that the Ford pickup that Gabriel crashed was the exact same vehicle captured on a residential home surveillance camera concerning an August 21, 2010 robbery that occurred in the 3400 block of Connecticut Avenue, in Kenner. Upon conducting a license plate query on the truck driven by Gabriel through the license plate recognition cameras located throughout the City of Kenner, detectives were able to establish that the Ford pickup truck driven by Gabriel was captured on cameras within the City of Kenner on days and minutes prior to the robberies in Kenner. All three victims of the Kenner robberies which occurred on April 11, 2010, August 14, 2010, and August 21, 2010, identified Van Gabriel, Monday, as the person who stopped them, claiming to be a police officer, and robbed them. (The original August 26, 2010 news release detailing the three robberies is attached to this news release.)
Van Gabriel is a Tier 3, level sex offender, which means he has life time registration. He was convicted in October 1997 of the crime of aggravated crime against nature. In addition to Gabriel's sex offense conviction, Gabriel has prior arrests and convictions for false impersonation of a police officer, second degree kidnapping, aggravated crime against nature, sexual battery, simple robbery, and theft. It should be noted that Gabriel was arrested in Kenner in February 1997 after he convinced an elderly motorist he was a police officer investigating a counterfeit money ring, in which he persuaded the victim to withdraw money from the victim's bank account.
Gabriel will be transferred to Kenner at a later date, at which time he will be charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, simple robbery, false personation of a police officer, and simple kidnapping. Gabriel remains in the custody at Orleans Parish Prison in lieu of $335,000 bond.
Chief Steve Caraway urges anyone with information concerning these incidents of having been stopped by Van Gabriel to call the Kenner Police Department at (504) 712-2222, or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.