This site took a, we believe, understated approach to details of an incident stemming from a local man’s ire about getting a parking ticket downtown on Sunday but, as we have learned over the years – there was more to the story.
Our rationale was to illustrate the competition and angst which accompanies parking in our towns and cities so we sat up when we got wind of an – ugly – confrontation between a motorist and parking lot attendant in downtown Lafayette around 1:35 p.m. Sunday.
Apparently a driver was cited, didn’t like it, and decided to confront the attendant issuing the ticket. During the exchange the driver allegedly snatched a cell phone from the attendant’s hand – cutting the victim’s finger in the process – before driving away in a Range Rover.
One reader objected to our including the type of car involved (though we do that with every case where we have it – even one as relatively minor as this one), and we posted a short story to our Social Media interfaces which elicited considerable public response both to the incident as well as to the state of downtown parking in general.
We were going to let it go at that point as the story wasn’t exactly the Crime of the Century but as it appeared the driver left with the attendant’s cell phone we couldn’t help but wonder if we were dealing with a strong-arm robbery in the eyes of the law and, apparently, we were.
Lafayette police confirmed Monday that they were able to track the Range Rover to a local address and, in fact, located the driver – identified as Christopher Smith, 58, at his home, questioning him about the incident downtown.
Apparently the missing phone was produced and Smith was placed under arrest for strong-arm robbery, DUI, interfering with the civil rights of another (the parking attendant) by force or threats of force, as well as damaging a cell device – which we didn’t even know was actionable but, apparently, it is.
So, perhaps a cautionary tale to consider the next time you walk out to find a ticket stuffed under your wiper.