The Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office say they have joined forces to arrest 50 people in an operation to crack down on carjackings in the city.
Chief Medaria Arradondo and Sheriff Dave Hutchinson announced the arrests Tuesday, which were made after a three-day sting operation last week, which also yielded seven stolen vehicles, five guns and a pipe bomb.
In total, there were 41 felony arrests and nine gross misdemeanor arrests. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Violent Offender Task Force and the Minnesota State Patrol assisted MPD, with the state patrol providing a helicopter to help track suspects.
Police say there have been 391 reported carjackings in 2020 so far, which is a 320% increase from the same timeframe in 2019.
Carjackings dramatically increased in the city during the tumultuous summer that began with the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day. Police specifically began to categorize auto thefts and related robberies as “carjackings” for the first time, which they say have been mainly perpetrated by teenagers and young adults.
Chief Arradondo says he wants this sting to show that even though they are understaffed, they are still collaborating to fight violent crime.
Abdi Bihi was hit while picking up soup at the Seward Co-op in September.
“They said, ‘We are here to collect.’ And I said, ‘Collect what?’ They said, ‘Your car,’” Bihi said. “Suddenly they were pulling the doors.”
Susie was hit by four teens in October in broad daylight near 50th Street and France Avenue.
“You don’t even have time to process what is going or that it’s actually happening to you,” Susie said. “They are brazen, they are not afraid.”
Sheriff Hutchinson says “the bad guys are on notice.”
“We’re out there and we are gonna get you, and if you’re causing violent crime to our citizens in Minneapolis and the county, you’re gonna go to jail.”
WCCO gave the good news to Susie.
“To hear that so many were arrested feels great,” Susie said. “I hope they are prosecuted and do some jail time. And even if they’re teenagers, I hope that they do some jail time.”
She hopes the suspects do some soul searching, as she does the same.
“I need to forgive the four people that attacked me, even if I never hear them say they’re sorry.”
Officials say in most cases, one or more suspects approach a driver and strike up a conversation, before demanding their valuables and vehicles.
They advise people to always park in places that are well lit; drive with all car doors locked; avoid stopping for drivers that appear stranded; and be very aware of surroundings. If a driver or pedestrian appear to need help, people are urged to drive to another location, pull over and call 911 to report the need for assistance. The installation of anti-car theft devices are also encouraged.