A 16-year-old girl in Chicago, Illinois, has been charged with carjacking four separate drivers at gunpoint earlier this year, police announced on Thursday, adding that on another occasion, the juvenile offender even made off with a vehicle while a 7-year-old girl was still inside.
In a press release, the Chicago Police Department reported that officers arrested the juvenile Wednesday on the Lower West Side and charged her with four felony counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm and one count of felony restraint.
Police listed the dates and locations of the crimes as well as the ages and genders of the victims.
In one incident that took place March 24, the girl allegedly carjacked a 60-year-old woman. The three other incidents took place within the span of four days between Feb. 18 and 21 and involved three male victims between the ages of 27 and 37 years old.
The defendant's identity has not been released due to her young age. Police said she was taken into custody without incident and is now awaiting a court date.
WMAQ-TV reported that the unlawful restraint occurred on Feb. 27 in Bridgeport when the suspect hopped in a running vehicle and drove off with a 7-year-old girl still sitting in the back seat. Citing police, the outlet said the suspect abandoned the vehicle a short time later on Archer Ave. with the child inside and unharmed.
The alarming news comes as juvenile violent crime continues to soar in Democratic-controlled cities across the country. Armed carjackings, in particular, have been on the rise in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Local Chicago station WBBM-TV reported last October that during the first several months of 2021, more than half of carjacking arrests in the city were of individuals 17 years old or younger. Moreover, police struggled mightily to arrest carjackers in the first place, lodging just a 6% arrest rate.
In an attempt to understand what was driving the crime spike, WBBM sat down with a handful of teen carjackers to conduct anonymous interviews.
One of the interviewees, a 16-year-old girl, bragged to the station that she had committed at least six carjackings in recent months, but giggling, said she wasn't sure because she doesn't keep count.
The girl added that her gender is an advantage for her since people "wouldn't probably expect a younger-aged female to be out here carjacking."
She is likely not the same person as the other 16-year-old recently arrested, though, since her weapon of choice is a knife and not a gun.