PHILADELPHIA, PA – Carjackings in Philadelphia have been on the rise over the course of 2021 and now we are learning that over one-third of the people arrested for committing the violent crime are teenagers.
According to KYW Radio Philadelphia, in 2021 the Philadelphia Police Department took 150 people into custody for their alleged involvement in carjackings. Of those 150 people that were arrested, 60 of them were juveniles.
Philadelphia Police Department Deputy Commissioner Ben Nash spoke about the teenagers that were allegedly involved with carjackings. He said:
“I cannot tell you what can be in the motivated minds of the young people doing this. We know that some of the individuals committing these crimes that have been arrested, they have done other crimes.
They have done other carjackings. And we think part of the allure is that they can just stay in the juvenile justice system, so we are concerned about that.”
The point that Nash makes here is that there are less consequences for juveniles as opposed to adult offenders with the criminal justice system.
Most juvenile offenders who are arrested are turned over to a relative with a court date after arrest or immediately placed on home detention pending the outcome of the case whereas adult offenders are often jailed until they can post bail.
Nash has noted that some of the juvenile suspects in the carjackings are repeat offenders, possibly because they are immediately released. To combat part of this issue, according to Nash, has been requesting the repeat juvenile offenders be prosecuted as an adult.
If the request is denied, then the juvenile is referred to the juvenile justice system which focuses more on rehabilitation and social service as opposed to any real consequences.
This is where Nash and others are concerned because the juveniles tend to reoffend which will eventually come back to haunt them. He said:
“So, there are people, young people whose lives are going to be seriously disrupted and harmed forever, and that is the really sad thing.”
One of the many carjackings that have occurred this year, allegedly at the hands of a teenager, occurred on January 13th before 8 pm. In this case, a 60-year-old man had just parked his car on Cherokee Street when police allege a 16 year old teenager approached him, armed with a gun.
The teen suspect pointed the gun at the victim and demanded the keys to his car. Much to the suspect’s surprise, the victim was legally armed and pulled his own gun.
Both persons shot at least 17 rounds at each other, but only the suspect was struck.
The suspect was struck several times but was able to escape into a nearby Jeep which fled the area. As police were responding to the carjacking victim, they received another call of a shooting victim, the teenager.
When police arrived on scene, they reported the teen suspect had gunshot wounds to his legs and a graze wound to his chest. Medics responded to the scene and transported the suspect to the Einstein Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.
The Philadelphia Police Department spoke to NBC10 and reported that the Jeep the teenage suspect fled in had been stolen in another carjacking during the second weekend of the year. Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said:
“We’ve had an inordinate number of carjackings so far this year and police and detectives are doing their best to recover the cars. We’ve recorded several cars and we’ve made several arrests. And we’re trying to determine if this is a group or several groups of individuals that are committing these same carjackings.”
The suspect shot the car owner twice in the back, killing him. Sadly, the victim was an off-duty Cleveland police officer who worked in the city’s 5th District on the northeast side of Cleveland. He’s been identified by the PD as 25-year-old Shane Bartek.
The suspect shot him as she attempted to rob his vehicle. After the shooting, the gunman fled the scene in the officer’s vehicle.
The cop was taken to Fairview Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Cleveland Police Officer Killed in Aggravated Robbery Motor Vehicle Incident https://t.co/FLjejtUdCs
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) January 1, 2022
The officer’s slaying was confirmed by both Cleveland Police Union president Jeff Follmer and incoming police chief Wayne Drummond.
Police were able to locate the vehicle in Euclid, where they took a suspect into custody.
A few hours later, a woman was also arrested in connection with the murder.
The officer has since been identified as Shane Bartek.
According to a release from CPD:
“On December 31, 2021, at approximately 6pm, an Aggravated Robbery Motor Vehicle incident occurred at 4320 Rocky River Drive in which a 25-year-old off-duty Cleveland Police Officer was shot and killed.
Preliminary investigation indicates that a suspect approached the victim in the parking lot of the apartment building with a gun, a struggle ensued, and the victim was shot twice by the suspect.
The suspect then fled in the victim’s vehicle. The victim was conveyed to Fairview Hospital by Cleveland EMS where he was pronounced deceased.
Following a multi-jurisdictional police pursuit, the victim’s vehicle was recovered, and a male was taken into custody. Further investigation has resulted in the arrest of additional suspects including a female.
Search warrants have been executed in connection with this investigation. Suburban law enforcement agencies are also pursuing additional felony charges.
This matter remains under investigation. Charges have not yet been filed. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.”
“My heart is aching for the family, for our officers. Senseless. It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Drummond.
Bartek joined the Cleveland Police Department in August of 2019.
“We are devastated by this news and are asking for prayers,” said Follmer.
Incoming mayor Justin Bibb echoed the sentiments from Drummond and Follmer.
“This evening is about the family of this slain officer that we lost today. I just ask the residents of Cleveland to keep the family in their prayers. Let’s all stay vigilant this evening. Stay safe and healthy. I also want to thank all members of law enforcement who supported us this evening.”
An 18-year-old woman is being held on suspicion of aggravated murder, while the suspect arrested with Bartek’s car is being held for allegedly receiving stolen property.
This investigation is ongoing. Law Enforcement Today will provide updates as they become available.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Bartek and the entire Cleveland, Ohio law enforcement community.
Sadly, being off duty does not remove the threats that officers face.
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