CHICAGO (CBS) — It remains a growing epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic – carjackings were up 132 percent in 2020, and they show no signs of slowing.
On Sunday, CBS 2’s Marissa Parra heard from two carjacking victims from this weekend.READ MORE: Private Insurance Now Covers At-Home COVID-19 Testing
The vicitm talked about carjacking tactics that have been appearing lately, and they are demanding change.
“Her car was right here, and she looks behind her – and I see that she’s quickly getting into her car,” said Kendall Abbey.
In the moments before her friend Erin Groble’s car was stolen, Abbey said something didn’t feel right.
“I remember thinking, like, that guy looks really young to be driving a car,” Groble said.
“They open the door and they start pulling her out, and I’m just kind of standing right here not sure what to do,” Abbey said.
Groble was unharmed when she was carjacked in Wicker Park on Saturday afternoon. But she was still shaken a day later – trying to find her things, and trying to piece together what happened.
“They yelled at me to get out of the car. They were yelling for my keys,” Groble said. “It felt like a tactic. I feel like they were practiced in making people feel disoriented and scared.”
Kelly Milan said the carjacker who attacked her Friday morning in Hyde Park did the same thing.
“He just kept saying: ‘Where are your keys? Where are your keys?’” Milan said. “He forcibly went through all of my pockets, took my keys, took my phone – my wallet was in the car – and drove off. It all happened so fast.”
It’s becoming a broken record. On Wednesday, we told you about four carjackings on the North and Near Northwest sides within hours of each other.
There have been even more reports of carjackings through the Citizen app across the North, West, and South sides.
“They just rotate through cars so quickly that it’s hard to stay on top of it and hard to track them down,” said Sam Royko.
Indeed, the carjackers often use stolen cars to steal more cars.
“The car they used to carjack me was also stolen,” Groble said. “It had been stolen earlier that day.”
Royko is the youngest son of the late and revered Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko. He is also Groble’s partner, and it was his car that was actually stolen.
Royko said he and Groble are sick of hearing about patterns. They want to hear about solutions.
“For us, it’s really looking at a systemic change, because we think that something is really just, at the root of things, wrong,” Royko said. “You know, there are people who are this desperate that they are doing these types of things – and in this instance, it was teenagers.”READ MORE: Woman Struck and Killed While Entering Vehicle In West Garfield Park
“People shouldn’t have to be afraid of using their cars,” Groble said.
This weekend alone, police have confirmed four carjackings in Chicago – all in the Wicker Park-Bucktown area – and six more have been reported around the city on Citizen app. Two more carjackings and an attempted carjacking were reported in the western suburbs, and police caught two teen suspects following yet another carjacking in the southern suburbs.
Police also gave official warning to Chicagoans that carjackers are targeting rideshare drivers – with seven targeted so far in the last few weeks and three this weekend alone.
Groble and Royko’s car was taken at 1:25 p.m. Saturday at Milwaukee and Ashland avenues and Division Street in Wicker Park, in an alley near a CVS drugstore.
Not long after Royko’s car was stolen, Groble got an alert that her credit card was used seven mils south at a gas station along the Dan Ryan Expressway. Carjackers often steal cars close to a highway to make a quick exit.
Royko’s dark gray 2016 Audi still has not been recovered.
Police also confirmed a rideshare driver was carjacked in around 7 p.m. Saturday in the 1400 block of North Leavitt Street in Wicker Park.
Rideshare drivers were also targeted in a carjacking at 10:35 p.m. Saturday in the 2100 block of West Charleston Street in Bucktown, and around 3:53 a.m. Sunday in the 1700 block of West Le Moyne Street in Wicker Park. The carjackers stole a 2015 Audi A6 after the driver picked them up in the latter incident, police said.
Citizen app reports that have not yet been confirmed by police also indicated that carjackings transpired this weekend in Bridgeport, Morgan Park, Calumet Heights, Roseland, the South Loop, and twice elsewhere in Wicker Park.
Meanwhile in Aurora, police said a car was stolen in an armed carjacking at 4 p.m. Saturday at a Wendy’s in the 1200 block of North Orchard Road. The woman who was carjacked was also shot and critically injured, Aurora police said.
Witnesses said the woman was eating in her car when the men pulled up in a black Ford Escape, forced her from her sport-utility vehicle, and shot her in the back.
Police in Naperville were also investigating a carjacking at 1:55 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of East Bailey Road. A woman was approached by two suspects in dark clothing with a handgun, who took her 2018 maroon Dodge Charger. Police went on to pursue the suspects down Interstate 88, but ended up abandoning the pursuit near Midwest Road.
In Elmhurst, two suspects tried to carjack a man in his driveway in the 500 block of North Emroy Avenue at 10:20 a.m. Sunday. The suspects took out a gun and demanded the victim’s car, but the gun turned out to be a “replica gun.’ The suspects fled in a Toyota RAV 4.
Two minors were also arrested early Sunday after a police chase following a carjacking in south suburban Dolton. The chase started at Interstate 94 northbound near Sibley Avenue in Cook County just after 6 a.m., Illinois State Police said.
The vehicle was stopped on Interstate 57 southbound near 138th Street around 6:45 a.m. Two boys were arrested and turned over to the Dolton Police Department.
Back in Wicker Park, Royko said he has reached out to local aldermen looking into the possibility of a town hall on carjackings. But as he mentioned, he also wants to open up a discussion on addressing the systemic issues behind the carjackings too.
Aldermen Daniel La Spata (1st) and Brian Hopkins (2nd) had not returned our request for comment late Sunday.MORE NEWS: Crime Stoppers Offers $1,000 Reward For Information In Hit And Run In Austin
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