Hundreds of violent carjackings and thousands of catalytic converter thefts each year continue to leave Minnesotans on edge. Liz Collin sat down with four people who shared their alarming experiences.
What was supposed to be a typical afternoon for Eve turned horrifying when she left a building in Minneapolis for her car. With carjacking crimes on the rise, Eve made sure to check her surroundings before heading to her vehicle. She quickly learned being cautious was not enough to stop two armed men from confronting her.
Eve said the men demanded that she get out of her car and then stole her vehicle, which also had the keys to the building she came out of.
“I was so paranoid in that building. I slept in that building hallway all night because I was so scared someone was going to come back before I can get re-keyed and I didn’t want anything to happen to anyone in the building,” Eve said.
Anger set in as Eve explained that Minneapolis’ once peaceful Powderhorn Park neighborhood is now a crime zone.
“I wish somebody would figure out what’s going on. To lose seven, eight, nine thousand dollars like that so they can take a car from south Minneapolis to north Minneapolis?” Eve said. “I miss the patrolling we used to see that we don’t see anymore because we’re short-handed.”
Becky experienced a chilling morning on Aug. 24, 2020. Becky had finished her shopping at Target in Burnsville. Halfway into her car, she noticed a person holding a gun to her head. Becky put up a fight, but the carjacker eventually hopped in Becky’s car and drove off. The carjacker left bruises on Becky’s arm.
When the stolen vehicle was recovered a couple days later, substances like heroin and meth were found in her car. Becky was left covering the thousands of dollars in damage.
“I don’t want to be in an enclosed room. Loud noises startle me. Being approached in the parking lot, I can’t even think of having someone behind me anymore. When I leave the store I’m constantly searching the whole parking lot to see if I’m going to get preyed on again,” explained Becky.
Similar to Becky’s story, Natalie was also targeted in a public area in broad daylight. Upon leaving a gas station, Natalie said she noticed an older man was following her to her car.
Natalie quickly dove inside her car and slammed the door shut. She said the older man tried reaching for the door handle. Natalie shouted at the man to get away from her car and took off.
“For me I have not gone back to that gas station. I just feel it’s a target location because the access to I-35 is right there, you turn out and you’re on I-35. So, I’ve been trying to be more cautious getting gas near my house and also where I park in the gas station,” said Natalie.
Dennis said he had an unusual morning one day when he left for work and his car was nowhere to be seen. About nine hours after making a police report, Dennis’ car was recovered. Dennis said the perpetrator(s) sawed off his catalytic converter and popped the ignition.
“I had to miss work. I got the piece for it, I paid $400. Very unfortunate,” Dennis said.
The victims also discussed what changes they think need to be made in order to put an end to Minnesota’s carjacking crisis.