When there’s a police manhunt underway for a 12-year-old boy, a lot of people sit up and take notice.
(Should that be kidhunt?)
It’s not every day, thankfully, there’s a warrant out for the arrest of a preteen for his suspected role, along with six other youngsters, in what police say was a violent robbery and carjacking that wounded an innocent woman.
But that’s what happened at around midnight Tuesday on Lawrence Ave. near Galloway Rd. in Scarborough, and police say it’s part of a wild teen crime spree that began last week.
The “clique” is believed to be responsible for four other similar carjackings.
“The ages of the suspects are 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17,” said Det.-Sgt. Dave Ecklund, who heads up 43 Division’s criminal investigations.
Two teens, ages 14 and 16, were in court Thursday to face car theft, robbery, assault and fleeing from police charges.
The five others remain at large, including the 12-year-old. Call the division or Crime Stoppers if you can help.
It’s disturbing news in what’s already been a disturbing year for crime in our city.
This is kids.
And it must be stopped before somebody gets killed.
The spate of alleged kid carjackings began April 1 in 43 Division in the city’s east end, and was followed by another in 32 Division in the north and 53 Division downtown. Police say they’ve also found a link to a similar attack in 42 Division in the northeast.
“It is being investigated as if they are all being committed (allegedly) by the same group,” Det. Jeremy Hayes of 43 Division said.
The MO is frightening.
Police allege the young suspects follow a victim to a garage or secluded area, confront them with a weapon, threaten they have a knife or gun, push and shove them, steal their wallet or purse and then take off with the victim’s car.
The woman in the underground at 3947 Lawrence Ave. was struck with a heavy tree branch, which police haven’t located. Her wallet and BMW were later found, but the damage was done. The attack not only terrified the 31-year-old woman, but police as well.
“I saw this when I worked in homicide,” said Ecklund, a 20-year veteran of the force. “People punch somebody thinking it’s just a fight, but they hit them in that right place and suddenly the person is brain dead. If a person has a heart attack during the carjacking, or is hit with a weapon and later dies, with forcible confinement, it can quickly become first-degree murder or certainly a manslaughter situation.”
The goal now, police say, is to catch the suspects before they hurt somebody else or themselves.
“Since none of the kids have driver’s licences, when we do locate them in a car there has to be a decision on whether or not to conduct a chase,” Ecklund said. “We always worry about what could happen if that chase goes wrong, to them in the car and of course to others on the street and the officer safety, too.”
Of course, little punks know this and use it to their advantage.
Still, it’s only a matter of time before this cluster of kids is collared and tucked nicely into a jail cell.
At least for a few minutes.
“What we have found is in these cases, there are not always role models or an adult figure for them to look up to and say, ‘This is wrong,’” Ecklund said. “Sometimes kids ... don’t think of the big picture and wonder, ‘What if the woman is pregnant or what if a senior has a medical emergency. They think it’s fun, something to do and somewhere to be.”
At 12 years old, where they should be at midnight is home in bed. Instead, there’s a 12-year-old out there wanted for carjacking.