MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Carjackings in Minneapolis have been an ongoing issue over the past several months, with law enforcement allocating additional focus to curb the violent crime.
However, recent efforts have shown that getting cases prosecuted isn’t going as swiftly as planned – and cases involving juveniles can result in lackluster adjudication.
Three weeks after the arrests, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office says it has only received 12 cases from investigators.
Of those, only five could be charged.
And of those, none are related to carjacking. https://t.co/REOmmQkbhp
— MN CRIME 💝 (@MN_CRIME) February 17, 2021
The latest debacle in the efforts against carjackings comes weeks after the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office announced how there were numerous arrests and charges related to an endeavor enacted by them and the Minneapolis Police Department.
On February 2nd, the HCSO proclaimed how there were, “46 arrests and 69 felony-level charges,” that were secured after a three-day operation that specifically targeted the likes of robbery and carjacking suspects.
Sheriff David Hutchinson noted that most of the arrests were related to carjacking offenses at the time.
It certainly sounded like an effort that could bring about promising results.
But according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, they’ve only received a total of 12 cases from investigators and are only able to bring charges against five individuals.
Furthermore, none of the five individuals were charged with anything related to carjacking.
According to retired Judge Daniel Mabley, who is currently consulting with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on carjacking cases, those five cases are only related to drug offenses:
“All five of the men charged were charged with some form of a drug offense.”
It’s quite a far cry to go from an announced, “46 arrests and 69 felony-level charges,” where there’s a proclamation of a majority being related to carjacking offenses – to just being left with five drug cases weeks later.
Mabley thinks that not only was there some bad phrasing employed when announcing the arrests earlier in February, he also says that prosecutors can’t do much until a case has been submitted:
“I think it might be unfortunate that the press release used the word ‘charges.’ I think what they meant was probable cause arrests. If the criticism is that we aren’t doing enough on cases, we have to have the cases submitted before we can do anything about them.”
A spokesperson for the MPD noted that there are still several cases linked to the late-January effort that are being investigated, but the delays are coming from the complexities of how many of these cases are entangled.
When it comes to carjacking cases that wind up getting prosecuted, one victim found out the hard way just how lenient the criminal justice system is to offenders that happen to be juveniles.
Back in October of 2020, Susie was the victim of a violent carjacking where one of the perpetrators involved was a 16-year-old male:
“He was the main one that came at me with his arms open and pushed me to the ground and did the majority of the kicking and hitting.”
So, when the teen was recently sentenced for the crime, she was astonished to hear that he was sentenced to only 60 days of house arrest and had to write her an apology letter:
“I was very upset, sat on the call crying. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) February 17, 2021
It’s a punishment that’s akin to a child bringing home a bad report card – a forced apology and basically grounded for two months. Susie referred to the doled-out punishment as being a miniscule, even for the juvenile courts:
“That, as a juvenile, it’s a slap on the wrist.”
Apparently, Susie’s attacker had taken a plea deal in Hennepin County where the teen had a total of 10 pending charges. The teen was afforded a plea deal that placed him in what’s known as Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile – which keeps the teen on probation until he’s 21 years old.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman explained what the EJJ system accomplishes:
“That’s halfway between being treated as a delinquent in the juvenile system and being treated as an adult. You get one last shot at the juvenile system, but if you screw up, you’re going to do 58 months of adult time.”
When it came time for the teen to be sentenced, that was handled in Benton County, which was where the teen wound up being sentenced to 60 days house arrest and the drafting of apology letters. Freeman says that those types of sentences aren’t that uncommon in juvenile cases:
“This may not be as long a penalty as…the woman who was carjacked would like, but it’s not an unusual sentence. I think what we’re seeing in the juvenile system is we’re trying to rehabilitate the kid.”
Susie feels that the sentence the teen received was nearly moot with how light it was:
“Felt like it had all happened for nothing and no one really cared.”
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Minneapolis isn’t the only area dealing with spikes in carjacking cases – as Chicago has been having a rough patch at the onset of 2021.
We at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on the increase in carjacking that Chicago has been experiencing.
Here’s that previous report.
CHICAGO, IL – According to Chicago Police officials, the city has managed to see 144 carjackings within the first 21 days of the new year.
If these vehicular hijackings continue at this pace, Chicago could very well see itself onto amassing 2,000 carjackings by the end of 2021.
144 Carjackings In Chicago In First 21 Days Of Year
4 carjackings happened in 4 hours last night in city
— Audrina Bigos (@AudrinaBigos) January 22, 2021
During a press conference on January 21st, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown delivered his remarks regarding the uptick in carjackings within Chicago:
“The spike in vehicular hijackings are a regional and national issue that both urban and suburban cities are experiencing across the country. Motives include joyriding and to facilitate anonymity while committing other crimes that include robbery and shootings.”
From what Superintendent Brown says, numerous arrests have been made in these carjacking cases.
Apparently, many of the offenders happen to be working in crews consisting of two to four people – which means that when police are working these cases, they’re not necessarily just looking for the person who stole the car but other individuals like getaway drivers or various other accomplices.
Investigators during the news conference relayed that many of these crews are either working from within the suburbs or are targeting the suburbs from outside areas.
In an effort to help stifle the spike in carjackings, Superintendent Brown announced that the CPD will expand its Vehicular Hijacking Task Force and also move to collaborate with other cities throughout the region.
CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan also stated that there will be added staffing to the detective division along with beat cops being prepared to respond to more carjacking incidents, in an effort to expedite solving these cases.
Another unique aspect to the spike in carjackings is just how young some of these alleged offenders are. An incident from January 15th allegedly involved a 12-year-old suspect who pointed a gun at a woman and stole her car.
Superintendent Brown said that there can be numerous aspects influencing this increase in carjackings, but pointed out to some of the more recent factors like the economy and the pandemic:
“I just think all of those things, along with the anxiety around what we are now in – the worst economy since the Great Recession or the Great Depression and its impact on the families; school’s being out, and its impact on some kids, not all – and I think that’s yet to be written, the whole impact of the pandemic.”
Mere hours before Superintendent Brown had held the press conference on January 21st to discuss the ongoing debacle revolving around carjackings, a 55-year-old man was carjacked by two suspects at 6:37 p.m. that evening.
During that incident, the victim was sitting at a red light along the 400 block of North Cicero Ave when a man with a metal pipe approached the driver’s side door and a second assailant approached the passenger door with a gun drawn.
The two suspects had ordered the driver out of the car, and when he complied, the suspect holding the metal pipe began to strike the victim several times before driving off in his black Acura PDX.
The victim in that case was said to have been taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was reported as stabilized after the attack.
Three other carjackings occurred on January 21st – one of which happened at around noon in a parking lot located within the 900 block of West Weed St where a female victim was carjacked by two armed men.
Police say the suspects stole some of the woman’s personal belongings as well as the keys to her black Porsche Cayenne SUV and sped off.
“I’m witnessing a carjacking outside my apartment.”
Chicago’s had 144 year-to-date. That’s 2000+ for 2021 at this rate. https://t.co/xoTcetAtxM
Here’s one: pic.twitter.com/njhbpCaEed
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) January 22, 2021
At around 6:10 a.m. that day, within the 3100 block of North Kimball Ave, two armed men carjacked a 46-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman who were inside of their 2019 Toyota Corolla.
Hours before that incident, at approximately 2:00 a.m., a 26-year-old man was carjacked of his Mercedes while at a gas station near 31st St and Michigan Ave.
During that incident at the gas station, the victim was reportedly at the service window of the establishment when two suspects approached in a black vehicle and stopped near him. A male suspect got out of the passenger seat, held the victim at gunpoint and demanded his car keys and his cell phone.
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