CHICAGO (CBS) — In two weekends, at least three people have fallen victim to the same tactic, in which carjackers rear-end a driver and then attack after the driver pulls over with the intention of exchanging information.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Sunday night, the tactic is nothing new – but it can be hard to notice when it’s happening. One woman fell victim to it at 12:20 a.m. Sunday in the Fulton River District.
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“When you told me, that’s my first time hearing it, so it makes me feel like I just need to be way more cautious,” said Lynette Kelly.
And Kelly said she is going to be more alert – seeing as where she stood on Sunday, in the parking lot of the Jewel-Osco at 370 N. Desplaines St., is where a woman was carjacked hours earlier.
“It’s like really scary,” Kelly said.
The 38-year-old woman did just about everything right in the incident. When her Audi Q5 was struck by a four-door red sedan in traffic, the woman pulled into the well-lit parking lot of the Jewel-Osco. The parking lot also has surveillance cameras.
She intended to exchange information with the driver who hit her car, but instead, four men got out of the red sedan and threw her to the ground. They took her purse and two of them drove off in her car.
“Maybe she could have gone to the Police Department – something like that,” Kelly said. “It’s so extreme, but honestly, it’s like life or death.”
This carjacking is similar to one that happened around 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 in the Loop.
Officers said in that incident, a man was also driving an Audi Q5 when a white car hit his bumper. He pulled over near LeSalle and Lake streets to exchange information, and someone got out from the other car and pointed a gun at him – taking his keys and the Audi.
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Police believe two men were involved in that incident, one wearing a black mask.
There was yet another similar incident downtown the following morning. A 53-year-old man was traveling on Lake Shore Drive through Grant Park when he was involved in a minor traffic crash. He pulled over in the 200 block of East Balbo Drive, and the people in the other vehicle involved in the crash approached him with a gun and announced a robbery, police said.
“I believe the criminal element has become emboldened with the mask and be more anonymous, but it’s just a pitiful situation,” one man said.
Police have not arrested anyone in these incidents. They all come as Chicago continues to go through a carjacking crisis.
So far this year, Chicago Police have reported 661 carjackings – up from 395 this time last year.
Now, people have another tactic and trick for which to look out.
“And just hope for the best, until such time as CPD is able to get a real handle on this,” Kelly said.
Again, these are just the carjacking incidents we know of. Police were not able to say if there has been a rise in “ruse fender-bender” carjackings.
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A good way to notice if something is off is to try to tell if the vehicle that hits you has been following you.