Old carjacking trend returns to Northeast Ohio

Posted at 5:48 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 20:27:43-05

A west side Cleveland man said he was tricked into a carjacking Thursday night. The so-called “bump and run” or “bump and carjack” is part of a larger crime trend hitting northeast Ohio.

Chanley Leffel said he was driving home from work around 9:00 p.m. Thursday when he stopped at the intersection of West 95th Street and Detroit Avenue right around the corner from his home. That’s when someone tapped his car from behind. Against his better judgment, he said he got out to check the damage. That’s when an accomplice jumped in his 2011 VW Jetta and took off.

“They tricked me. It wasn’t scary. It wasn’t violent. I waved goodbye,” Leffel said. “They were kids. They were skinny little punk kids.”

It’s part of a trend spanning the west side and the east side. Beachwood Police put out an alert about this same thing three weeks ago and just Friday someone carjacked Cleveland Clinic counselor Katie DiNardo before wrecking her one-year-old Honda Civic.

“He gets in, shuts the door, locks it,” DiNardo told News 5 on Saturday, "I go up to the door trying to yell at him to get out and he just books it.”

In an internal memo sent Thursday, the Clinic warned their employees about the carjackings but did not warn the general public. In an email a spokesperson noted it’s not a trend specific to them.

Leffel said it’s a reminder this can happen anywhere.

“Always be prepared. Always be looking in your rearview mirror, side to side, especially when you’re in the city,” he said.

Police recommend not getting out of the car in a situation like that. They say you should call 911 or drive to the nearest police station.