A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a string of carjackings in Northwest Baltimore on Sunday, a series of incidents that police say are another example of the struggles involved in keeping crimes committed by juveniles under control.
Throughout Sunday, police scrambled to deal with the carjackings. The first was reported at 1:45 a.m. in the 6300 block of Park Heights Ave.
After a second report nearby at 10:30 a.m., City Councilman Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer said he sought help from police, "who did not skip a beat."
A third carjacking happened in the afternoon, followed by a fourth in the evening. At the time of the final incident, police and members of the Shomrim neighborhood watch group flooded the area, Schleifer said. With the aid of a police helicopter, the teenager was tracked down and taken into custody.
"Crimes like carjackings, especially armed carjackings, wreak havoc on a community," Schleifer said.
The city had 151 carjackings in 2017 as of April 15, an increase of 62 percent from the same time period last year, according to ComStat data.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said the boy — whom police did not identify because he is a juvenile — had been involved in a series of violent crimes since January and was supposed to be on GPS monitoring, but had cut the device off his leg April 12.
Smith expressed frustration that in juvenile cases, where penalties are lighter and authorities aim not to keep suspects in jail, suspects often end up back on the street.
"He could be out of jail later tonight, doing this again," Smith said at a news conference. "We could be talking about him again tomorrow. The possibilities are real. That's what we have to deal with, with young people who prove that they aren't going to do right and consistently get out."
In all, Smith said, the boy and a group of other teenagers are suspected of being behind eight carjackings. He said that he expects more arrests.