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Chicago police have arrested five people over the past two days in connection with a string of carjackings throughout the Windy City dating back to November 2020, officials announced Thursday.
Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown said the five ranged in age from 15 to 39 and were all charged with felonies following their arrest the past 48 hours. Brown announced just weeks ago the department was bolstering its vehicular hijacking task force, adding 40 officers and strengthening community engagement efforts.
Most recently, officials announced the arrest of 39-year-old Robert Pinkston in Chicago’s Riverdale neighborhood. Police said he approached a man, 30, at gunpoint on Nov. 27, 2020 and stole his vehicle. Pinkston was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm.
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The others were more than 20 years younger, police records show. Four of the five suspects were teenagers — ages 15, 15, 16 and 18.
As Fox News previously reported, the 15- and 16-year-olds were arrested shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday on North Leclaire Avenue in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood in connection with a carjacking that was reported earlier in the night and approximately two-and-a-half miles away on North La Crosse street, the Chicago Police Department said in a Wednesday press release.
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Police said the duo forcibly stole a vehicle from a 48-year-old man on Tuesday night. They then allegedly tried to run from a traffic stop, but police caught up with them.
The 15-year-old was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon, both of which are felonies. The second teen was charged with a single felony: aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm.
Another 15-year-old was arrested shortly after 11:15 a.m. Tuesday for stealing a car from a 64-year-old woman on Dec. 15, 2020, on South Rhodes Street in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, police said. Charges indicate he was armed at the time.
And the 18-year-old man, Anthony Blackburn, was busted for a pair of carjacking-related incidents from Nov. 16, 2020.
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Officials charged Blackburn with two counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm; one count of attempted aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm; and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm — all of which are felonies.
Police officials previously said they’re grappling with startling trend in carjackings committed mostly by people ages 15 to 20, and arrest records show they are sometimes even younger.
“We’re having 12-year-olds commit these acts now,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said during a recent related press conference. “And we gotta do something together as a city to stop these actions.”
This CWB Chicago shows the carjacking of an 82-year-old man in July 2020
Deenihan said pandemic-driven changes, such as civil unrest and the lack of fully-functioning school and court systems have contributed to the surge. He noted the lack of fear on the part of the carjackers, pointing to one involving a 12-year-old that occurred on Jan. 15, when a woman was parking her car in a garage.
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Carjackings rose about 135% last year to 1,415 and continue at a high pace this year, police statistics show. CPD recorded 218 carjackings in January 2021 — a staggering spike from the 77 reported during the same time last year, authorities previously told Fox News.
“This idea of our officers confronting a 13- and 12-year-old with a gun and the most unthinkable tragedy happens is one of our concerns, but our primary concern, I want to make this clear, is for the victim,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said during the briefing. “And so these consequences, whether you’re young or old, have to be significant in order to discourage this behavior.”
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