An organized group of juveniles has been terrorizing the metro and committing robberies and carjackings since early June. One spree last week that spanned three cities ended in a violent crash in Northeast Minneapolis sending two of the suspects to the hospital, while two others fled.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher is raising the alarm about dangerous and violent groups of teenagers he says are responsible for most of the recent spike in violent crime.
Fletcher’s remarks were made in an interview this week after it was reported that the city of St. Paul has seen 50 armed robberies since June 1 and 20 carjackings in two weeks.
A spree of seven carjackings happened last Friday before the suspects crashed in Northeast Minneapolis. The spree started in the city of Maplewood in the late afternoon with three carjackings in rapid succession, follow by three more in St. Paul throughout the early evening and ended up with a robbery in the Marcy Holmes area of Minneapolis after 10:30 p.m.
Officers spotted the suspect vehicle on East Hennepin Avenue following the last robbery and the vehicle crashed and rolled when it tried to flee at a high rate of speed, according to police.
According to information received via email from a Minneapolis Police spokesperson following the crash, two suspects were hospitalized, and two suspects fled into the neighborhood and were not apprehended at the time.
There were reports of at least two violent carjackings in north Minneapolis in the days prior to last Friday’s spree. One reportedly took place on June 16 when armed suspects approached a man around 4:30 p.m. as he exited his vehicle and threatened to shoot him in the stomach. The man’s daughter was still inside the vehicle during the incident and the victim was able to convince the carjackers to let him get his daughter out of the vehicle before they took it.
Another was reported near Plymouth and James Avenues around 9 p.m. on June 17 in which three suspects were reported to have guns and fired shots before taking the vehicle.
Sheriff Fletcher said this week that all the incidents are connected to a group of 35 to 40 teenagers and they’re all violent. In almost all cases the suspects are pointing guns at people, Fletcher said. “They approach and ask a simple question to get you off guard, and that allows them to get inside your personal space where they can display a gun or use some kind of force.”
Fletcher said a Washington County judge was even robbed at Marshall and Fairview Avenues in St. Paul this week.
Other carjackings have been reported this week including one in Minneapolis where a care facility employee was assaulted and carjacked just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday on the 2500 block of Portland Avenue South. And another was reported on Wednesday evening, again in Northeast Minneapolis.
A report this week said the youngest person taken into custody related to the carjackings so far has been a 12-year-old boy.
(Pictured above: Three St. Paul violent robbery suspects)
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