Saints, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson 'shaken, unharmed' after man attempts to steal car she's in

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New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson was sitting in her vehicle when a man tried to steal it last weekend in the city, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

“While she was very shaken at the time, she was unharmed and is doing fine,” Saints and Pelicans spokesman Greg Bensel said in a statement Friday. “She wanted to send her sincere gratitude to the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department that responded so quickly and professionally.”

A man driving a white Nissan Titan parked next to Benson’s car on South Claiborne Avenue at around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, per the New Orleans Police Department.

Benson, 73, was reportedly in the backseat of her car waiting while her driver was inside a local business. The man got out of the Titan and into Benson’s vehicle, police said, but when Benson screamed for him to get out, the man fled the scene.

The incident is being classified by police as an attempted auto theft. They told the Advocate it wasn’t classified as a carjacking — a case in which the car is violently taken directly from the owner or driver — because “there’s no evidence the man realized Benson was inside the vehicle when he got in.”

There are no suspects in the case. Bensel said he couldn’t add further comment while police are investigating the crime.

Close up of Gayle Benson.
Gayle Benson was in her car when a thief tried to steal it, police say. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

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