A New Orleans area truck owner apparently rigged the inside of his truck with a flash-bang stun grenade in order to deter would-be car thieves. Security camera footage showed the technique already managed to scare off at least two thieves who attempted to break into his truck.
Video of the security camera footage, which has gone viral on social media, showed a car drove up alongside the white pick-up truck and a man got out from the passenger door. The passenger and apparent car thief looked inside the white pickup truck before smashing in the driver’s side window and leaning into the front seat. Seconds later a bright flash could be seen inside the truck, before the car thief jumped back out of the truck and ran back to the suspect car before it drove away.
The unnamed pick-up truck owner spoke to FOX 8 in New Orleans. He said he had grown fed up after repeated break-ins of his and other vehicles in the area.
“To see him like gleefully walk up and just smash my eighth window in the past couple months and jump in and then you know to see the detonation go off and his reaction,” the truck owner told the news station. “I don’t want this guy to die for what he did, but I don’t want him to just be able to smash and grab and run away.”
Flash-bangs are non-lethal grenades that produce a bright flash and a loud bang.
According to FOX 8, several cars were broken into on Sunday morning at the Sixth Baptist Church in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District. Thieves also broke into several cars at a school event in City Park on Friday night. According to New Orleans police data, vehicle burglaries are up 28 percent over the same time last year.
The truck owner said his car is almost always targeted when there’s a string of break-ins in his area.
“My condo is for sale. I don’t want to live there anymore because I can’t keep paying for windows,” the truck owner said. “It’s almost like a culture now on a big night, whether it’s something like the Final Four or you know, a holiday weekend, something like that, you can almost expect it in my neighborhood.”
While the truck owner’s method of deterring car thieves appeared to work this time, New Orleans Police warned against taking similar actions, stating something that’s rigged up to detonate could be considered a bomb and could be illegal.
“While we understand the frustrations our citizens have with crime, rigging an explosive device to detonate inside a vehicle is illegal and a bad idea,” the police department said in a statement provided to WDSU. “Not only is there a risk of injury to yourself and others, there could be serious legal ramifications for everyone involved. Please call your District station or Crimestoppers to report illegal activity.”
“Leadership has failed and more ways than one when it comes to this situation, just crime in the area, like, I reported to the police almost every time and I don’t blame the police for this, they’re understaffed and like there’s too much crime,” the truck owner told FOX 8. “I really blame the fact that like these, these people get caught, and then they basically get bailed out.”
The truck owner told FOX 8 he doesn’t encourage other car owners to follow his lead, but said he see’s the thief’s reaction to the flash-bang proves his method is effective.
“Whoever did this, definitely, had a bad night. He might never do it again because every time he goes in there, this could happen to him,” the truck owner said. “It’s a small battle in the war, I guess, that no one else is fighting.”
It is not clear if the truck owner has been charged for rigging the stun grenade. It is also unclear how he obtained the stun grenade. Such devices are typically reserved for military and law enforcement purposes and are heavily restricted for civilians. Military Times reported in 2019 that Miami-based internet retailer IWA International has sold some civilian-legal flash-bang-like devices, which are less powerful than those typically used by military and law enforcement and are classified as pyrotechnic devices.