While the carjacking rate continues to rise in Baltimore, police have identified a pattern in the thefts: teens stealing cars for adults to commit crimes in them.
Maj. Kimberly Burrus, commanding officer of the district detective section, said that they began to recognize the pattern back in May, a few days after police apprehended everyone involved in the “bump-and-rob” style carjackings the city saw earlier this year.
“We noticed that we were still having a steady increase in the carjackings, but the M.O. was totally different,” Burrus told the AFRO. “These were a little more aggressive, they always involved a weapon.”
Police have identified the Pimlico area as the epicenter for these carjackings; the vehicles involved were both stolen and recovered in this area.
While Honda brand vehicles were targeted during the bump-and-robs, all types of vehicles are being taken in this pattern. It always involves multiple juveniles, one brandishing a handgun.
“As we started to make the arrests, we started to link individuals together,” Burrus said. “We saw vehicles that had been carjacked during this pattern involved in homicides, shootings and other street robberies.”
Adults involved in this pattern would hire teenagers to steal a car for them, and then hide the vehicle in storage for 10-11 days. Then, the vehicle would be involved in a violent crime, stored again, and then rented to teenagers to use.
“That’s their means of getting rid of the vehicle,” Burrus said. “So, if the juvenile is either in an accident or caught in a vehicle, then it relieves you of any connection to that vehicle—in theory.”
Police have made several arrests in this pattern, and have identified other juveniles and several adults that may be involved. Police have also identified a rise in the pattern of illegal taxis, or hacks, being robbed or carjacked.
According to recent crime data, there have been 242 carjackings in Baltimore City to date, a significant increase compared to 176 this time last year.
“It’s not always easy for us to be able to bring a case to court,” Burrus said, “but we’re still investigating to see what cases we can bring forth.”