Crimestoppers GNO Tip Leads to Recovery of 16 Vehicles Valued at $300,000

Published 2:58 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

New Orleans – In October of 2022, Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft Unit New Orleans Field Office (LSP-IFAT-NFO) received a Crimestoppers GNO tip relating to several stolen vehicles being stored in an abandoned apartment complex of an Algiers neighborhood.

Detectives began investigating the information provided in the tip and recovered 8 stolen vehicles from the abandoned apartment complex. During the initial investigation, detectives learned that several people were inhabiting the abandoned apartments, without permission from the property owner. Through investigative means, detectives were able to identify 40-year-old David Darby of Texas as a person of interest.

Detectives continued the investigation and on November 22, 2022, Darby was observed driving a Ford F-250 pickup truck with a passenger, 41-year-old Haley Smith of New Orleans, in the apartment complex. During a traffic stop with Darby, detectives noticed damage to the steering column of the Ford and were able to verify it was stolen from the New Orleans area. A semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number was also located in the Ford, which was determined to be stolen.

As part of the investigation, on the same date, detectives located an additional 8 stolen vehicles, including 2 travel homes, in the same apartment complex. Detectives requested and were granted a search warrant for the apartment where Smith was residing. Located in that apartment were two rifles, one 9mm handgun with extended magazine, and additional stolen property which belonged to the owner of one of the travel trailers. The 9mm handgun was later determined to be stolen.

During the investigation, detectives were able to associate the theft of a restored classic 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle and a fully enclosed trailer (pictured) to Darby. The Chevelle and trailer were last known to be in the area of Arts Street and Piety Street in New Orleans. Detectives have been unable to locate the Chevelle and it’s trailer. Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in locating those stolen items. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact the LSP Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Division at: lsp.insurance.fraud.unit@la.gov.

As a result of the investigation, Darby was arrested for Theft of a Motor Vehicle (2 counts), Possession of Stolen Property valued at $25,000 or more (2 counts), Possession of Stolen Property valued between $5,000 and $25,000 (2 counts), Possession of Firearm with Obliterated Serial Number. Smith was arrested for Possession of Stolen Property valued between $5,000 and $25,000 (2 counts), Possession of Firearm with Obliterated Serial Number, Possession of Stolen Property valued less than $1,000. Darby and Smith were booked into the Orleans Parish Jail. This investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.

LSP would also like to remind the community that information regarding any criminal activity can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers GNO at 504-822-1111 or at www.crimestoppersgno.org.