Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said on Wednesday that despite multiple arrests, there had been more carjackings and robberies via ride-sharing services in Baltimore during the past month.
Harrison stated at a news conference that carjackers frequently steal an active rideshare driver’s vehicle and phone before disguising themselves as a driver and picking up unaware passengers.
Harrison said these passengers are then robbed via mobile payment apps or escorted to ATMs to withdraw cash.
Both drivers and passengers have been involved in these occurrences.
In several cases, individuals have been kidnapped and put into cars before being driven to different locations, according to Harrison.
Since November 22, there have been 39 of these instances, with the most recent occurring on Tuesday, he added.
Harrison reported the arrest of six teenagers who had connections to 12 of the cases.
According to him, there are two outstanding warrants for one additional suspect and prior arrests for four of the six, ages ranging from 15 to 18.
According to Harrison, nine more suspects have been detained for other crimes connected to the ridesharing carjackings.
He urged citizens to assist police in identifying the offenders, saying, “While we have made some arrests, we observed it continue, so we know that there are more people out there who have not yet been apprehended.”
Harrison noted that although the department’s southern region has seen the most carjackings and robberies, they are also occurring in Baltimore County, right next door.
He claimed that the juvenile male and female suspects frequently operate in couples or groups.
“It’s crucial for our riders to have access to transportation, especially during the colder months when they need to go grocery shopping, work, or conduct errands. And therefore, for all of us, this is of the utmost importance,” Harrison remarked.
“We must safeguard our friends’, neighbors’, and coworkers’ quality of life.”
Uber advised consumers to confirm all the specifics of their journey before boarding and to cancel it if they feel unsafe.
Uber issued a statement saying, “The reported attacks are horrible.” “We work closely with law enforcement to support their ongoing investigation and have sent passengers and drivers in the Baltimore region safety tips in conjunction with them.”
In a statement, Lyft referred to the offenses as “completely abhorrent,” adding that the company has spoken with law authorities and provided assistance to affected drivers.
Safety is paramount to Lyft, and the situations mentioned are highly upsetting.
According to Harrison, city police have changed their carjacking procedures to obtain real-time information on these instances, uploading data to their license plate reader system and informing patrol officers to keep an eye out for these vehicles.
According to Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, the FBI is collaborating with the city police and has started multiple investigations involving numerous people.
The division collaborates with the US. Harrison stated that these cases would be prosecuted by the Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General.