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Carjackings are on the rise throughout Northeast Ohio: Here’s what to do if you fall victim

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Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 23:14:16-04

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — All too often and all throughout Northeast Ohio, criminals are victimizing unsuspecting community members by committing carjackings.

The latest carjacking incident occurred at a Shell Gas Station on Brecksville Road in Independence on Saturday.

Surveillance footage from the gas station shows two people getting out of their cars, while at a pump, and pointing guns at a man returning from inside the gas station.

Independence Police’s reports show the victim noticed the car following him before he turned into the gas station. He told police the people got out and demanded him give over everything or else they’d kill him.

The man complied, with hands up, and gave the criminals his car.

Independence Police said in a statement:

The IPD continues its investigation with area departments to apprehend the criminals. There is no property worth risking someone’s life. IPD would like to state that in property crimes such as this, the best course of action is to not escalate the situation.
Independence Police Department

Tim Dimoff, a national security expert, viewed the surveillance footage from the gas station. He said the victim in it did everything right.

“I mean they’re pointing a gun at him. They’re threatening him. There’s two of them and one of him,” he said. “Throw the keys down, turn around and get out of there.”

He said there are different types of carjackings and you need to be prepared for all of it.

1. Someone gets into your vehicle

If someone gets in your car and tells you to drive, Dimoff said your life is in extreme danger.

“As that carjacking starts and they threaten you and they don’t allow you to leave the car, you accelerate and you smash the car into a pole, a tree, whatever,” he said. “Because the key to that crime is the car. It’s not you, it's the car and you don't want to have to go with that person somewhere where lots of very dangerous things can happen.”

2. Carjacking by car accident

If you get bumped into while driving and you don’t feel right about it, Dimoff said there is no legal obligation for you to stop right away.

“We suggest that you drive to someplace where there are a lot of other people and cars and activity,” he said.

3. Someone approaches you and your vehicle

Dimoff said if someone comes up to you at a parking lot, gas station, etc. and demands your car, don’t try to fight it.

“In many cases, the police can track these people down and get your car back," he said. "Even if they don’t, who cares? The car can be replaced. Your health and life cannot.”

He said just drop your keys and run.

“You don't need to resist,” he said. “Drop the keys and run. They're not going to chase you. They're not interested in you. By throwing the keys down on the ground gives you that 3 to 5 seconds of distraction and you can run away and they'll let you run away because once again, the car is their goal, not you.”