Hurricane evacuees victimized by Memphis crooks

Reverend Pernell Doris pastors a church near New Orleans. But no amount of prayer will likely get his car stereo and other equipment back.

"This is ridiculous," he said.

The electronics were ripped out Sunday night by some fast-fingered crooks who hit the parking lot of the Holiday Inn on Mt. Moriah. They broke into the pastor's Ford Expedition by popping the lock.

"They got away with the DVD in the front and the navigation system," said Doris. "And the speakers in the back."

Memphis Police confirm nearly a half dozen thefts from cars belonging to hurricane evacuees. They've been reported, primarily, in hotel parking lots.

According to a Monday media release, officers responded to four incidents of larcenies from motor vehicles in the Cordova area. But these crimes are happening all over the city, and as a result, police are stepping up patrols.

District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said Monday that there would be "no deals" for anyone prosecuted for targeting hurricane evacuees.

"We have evacuated from New Orleans," said Lisa Doris. "And I feel like we've been victimized 'cause we're not a part of this city."

Most hotels offer only a warning that they're not responsible for any stolen belongings.

"I thought this was going to be a safe place," said Rev. Doris.

Now, he and his wife have a new impression of Memphis.

"We feel like we've been victimized," Lisa Doris said.

The couple has no plans to return to the Bluff City if another hurricane should ever force them to leave home.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.