The New Orleans Police Department did not identify Benson by name in a statement to The Washington Post, but confirmed the attempted auto theft occurred Saturday around 2:13 p.m. Central time when a vehicle described as a white Nissan Titan parked next to a vehicle with the Benson seated inside. Then, a subject “described as a black male with facial hair, exited the Nissan Titan, and entered the victim’s vehicle” before “the victim ordered the subject out of her vehicle. The subject exited the victim’s vehicle, re-entered the Nissan Titan, and fled the scene.”
Police had not identified any suspects as of Friday.
Benson was in the back seat of her car while her driver entered a business near the vehicle, according to NOLA.com.
A New Orleans native, Benson assumed control of the Saints and Pelicans after her husband Tom Benson died in 2018. Tom Benson purchased the Saints in 1985 and the Pelicans in 2012 when they were known as the Hornets.
In 2015, Tom started a bitter family dispute when he broke off a planned succession of his Saints ownership to his daughter and two grandchildren and made Gayle, to whom had he been married since 2004, the sole heir. His daughter and grandchildren took him to court to claim he was mentally unfit to manage his affairs but he was declared competent by the court.
A settlement of nonvoting shares of the Saints and Pelicans was reached between Tom Benson and his daughter and grandchildren in 2017.