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In-Depth: Lakewood, Cleveland police work to solve carjacking crime spree

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 23:15:26-05

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Lakewood and second district Cleveland police detectives are trying to solve a carjacking crime spree that terrorized at least three drivers in less than an hour.

Lakewood police Det. Tom McLaughlin told News 5 the series of events took place on Nov. 12, with the carjacking of an elderly couple at Athens and Arthur avenues.

McLaughlin said the couple barely had the chance to get their two grandchildren out of the backseat of their vehicle.

“The female victims and the male victims were pulled out of the car at gunpoint," McLaughlin said.

“They had their grandchildren in the backseat of the vehicle, the one suspect was pointing the gun at the victim’s face.”

“Yelling at her to get out of the car, she screamed that she just wanted to grab her grandson.”

McLaughlin said minutes later the two male suspects attempted another carjacking at the 1600 block of West 41st Street in Cleveland, which now has Cleveland police helping with the case.

“They went to a gas station on 30th and Carnegie, where they used the victim’s credit card from our carjacking," McLaughlin said.

“They went over to Seymour Avenue and they were able to carjack another victim and they were able to carjack a Chevy Equinox.”

“We’ve been working with second district detectives on that case, as well as ours.”

McLaughlin said the suspects attempt to hide the stolen vehicles in a very specific way and he wonders if they were involved in other area carjackings over the past month.

"What they did with this car and what they’ve been doing with other cars is they quickly try to change the appearance of it, they paint the rims and they put tint on the windows,” McLaughlin said.

West Park community activist Ken Trump told News 5 the crime spree indicates the need for a greater police presence in his neighborhood, and he's urging city leaders to relax what he called Cleveland's overly restrictive police chase policy.

“We’ve had at least five carjackings, an armed robbery of a beverage store, and now a murder in less than two or three weeks," Trump said.

“Police are not allowed to even chase suspects and the criminals know that, so it’s a free ticket to do crime anywhere in the city of Cleveland.”

“Residents know that you lose a community street by street to crime and that you can save it street by street.”

Anyone with information about this case is being urged to contact Lakewood Police Det. Tom McLaughlin at 216-529-6767, or contact Cleveland's second district police.

“Regardless of who they may be to you, we need to get these violent criminals off the street, your identity will be protected,” McLaughlin said.