Seattle police scramble for leads as armed carjackings leave city on edge: report
Police departments around Seattle are warning residents to be on the lookout after multiple carjackings in the area played out in a similar fashion.
The Renton Police Department, located just south of Seattle, told residents there has been an increase in drivers staging accidents where the at-fault driver carjacks the victim.
“We see this kind of thing periodically, once every year or two we’ll have a similar occurrence there where there’s some kind of ruse to get somebody to stop and then they’re robbed at gunpoint,” Renton Police Detective Robert Onishi told NBC K5.
Onishi’s comments come after one incident last week in which a driver attempting to exit a local Walmart was rear-ended by another vehicle. When the driver attempted to check on two juveniles riding in the back seat, he saw three individuals exit the car that rear-ended him and approach his vehicle. From there, one of the individuals opened the door to the victim’s back seat and pointed the gun at the juveniles while another individual pointed a gun at the driver and ordered him to get out of the vehicle. The victim and the juveniles were able to exit the vehicle as the suspects entered and fled the scene.
“State law is after a collision you need to exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle involved, nobody however says that has to be done in an unsafe place,” Onishi said. “If you’re in a collision with somebody and it’s not in a good place, if it’s dark or suspicious or just doesn’t feel right, you can fulfill that obligation by maybe driving to a brighter place, maybe better populated, maybe the police station, call 911 and say I was just in this collision but I’m nervous because of this circumstance.”
Two similar instances played out in nearby Seattle, according to the report, with two vehicles being rear-ended and then carjacked at gunpoint as they exited the vehicle to speak with the offending driver.
In both incidents, the occupants of the victim’s vehicles were uninjured.
A similar August incident played out in Maple Valley, Washington, located south of Renton, where a woman was rear-ended and then stormed by a group of five suspects and carjacked. In that incident, the suspects led police on a car chase that resulted in the deaths of two passengers when the vehicle struck a tree.
According to the Seattle Police Department, it is still unclear whether the two Seattle incidents and the carjacking in Renton are related, but they acknowledged all incidents shared similar characteristics.
“In terms of whether it’s the same suspects, that’s not determined as of yet,” Seattle Police Department Public Information Officer Judinna Gulpan said, according to NBC K5. “But in terms of how the incident’s occurring, we’re seeing it is a rear end collision and when the victims exit their car to exchange information, that’s when the carjacking is occurring.”
According to a report by Fox 13, the suspect vehicle in both incidents was described as a dark sedan.
Neither the Seattle nor the Renton police departments immediately responded to a Fox News request for comment.