Chicago Police Investigate 8 Carjackings In Past 6 Weeks

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police were looking into a string of carjackings in recent weeks, although it’s unclear if there’s any connection between the attacks.

Police confirmed at least eight carjackings in the city in the past six weeks. In some cases, the attackers drove off with passengers in the back seat.

That was the case on March 23, when a 60-year-old grandmother struggled with a carjacker while trying to protect her 1-year-old granddaughter during an attack in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The carjacking was caught on camera. Video shows a woman get out of her running SUV and go into a store, leaving her mother and her baby niece in the vehicle.

Soon, a stranger calmly gets into the car, surprising the 60-year-old grandmother, who tried to get out, before begging the carjacker to let her and the child go.

He told her to “shut up,” says the grandmother, who has asked not to be identified.

“He grabbed the baby, or he pushed the baby, and then I had the baby to my right side, so he don’t do nothing to her,” the woman tells CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar.

It was a short and terrifying trip, but both eventually were freed in the 4600 block of South Hermitage.

Police released surveillance video of the crime, hoping to find the carjacker.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said when he saw the story of the carjacking, he was “shocked about the brazenness of this crime.”

“My heart just went out to them, because I can’t imagine how terrifying that situation must have been,” he said.

A rideshare passenger in Old Town had a similar experience the same night, when a man with an Uzi decided to steal the car.

Tyler Schatz was in the backseat at Orleans and Division, dosing off in the backseat after finishing his overnight shift as a baker, but was jolted out of his sleep by what he saw: a man holding an Uzi with an extended clip, knocking on the driver’s window as they were stopped at a red light.

“Young male, pretty much, walks up with an Uzi,” Schatz said. “He tells the Uber driver to roll the window down. He points the gun at him, opens the door, punches the Uber driver in the face. Gets in the car, pretty much tosses the gun to the side.”

Schatz said the carjacker didn’t take anything from him, just told him to get out, and drove off.

Could the two carjackings be part of a new trend? Chicago police confirmed multiple other carjacking investigations across the city, including attacks in the South Loop, Ukrainian Village, River North, Washington Park, Wrigleyville, Old Town, and Back of the Yards neighborhoods.

Lopez said he doesn’t believe it’s a problem with policing, and said the Back of the Yards attack in particular appeared to be “a crime of opportunity.”

“We just need to stay vigilant, make sure that we’re locking our doors, and doing everything we need to do to prevent opportunities from arising where criminals can take advantage of the residents,” he said.

There also have been at least two carjackings in the suburbs in the last two weeks, including heists in Homer Glen and Hillside.

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