Five teenagers arrested as carjacking suspects
Madeline Buckley | Friday, October 2, 2009
Police have arrested five teenagers for the Sept. 24 carjacking of two Holy Cross students, South Bend Police spokesman Capt. Phil Trent said.
All five suspects were arrested for carjacking, criminal confinement and robbery. Trent said the Prosecutor’s Office is currently reviewing the charges.
“They do have the cases and they have concurred with us that there is obvious criminal culpability,” he said.
Formal charges will likely be set Friday, he said.
Several of the teenagers arrested have previous criminal records, according to Trent.
The two Holy Cross students were approached by the suspects near the 800 Block of Notre Dame Ave. late last Thursday and forced into their car. The victims told police at least one of the men had a gun. The men robbed and beat the students while they drove to several area ATMs to withdraw cash.
The suspects eventually forced the students into the trunk of the car.
An officer driving on McKinley Rd. around midnight stopped the car because the vehicle’s high beams were lit. The suspects fled the vehicle and the officer found the two students stuffed in the trunk.
Trent said this type of crime “does not commonly happen” in the area.
Off-campus crime directed toward students has remained steady in the past years, he said.
“This was very shocking. It shocked the community in general, not just the off-campus community,” he said. “It resonated through every sector.”
In response to the incident, Trent said South Bend Police have upped patrols in the northeast neighborhood.
“We respond to crime trends when something like this happens,” he said. “This occurred on 24th and by the 25th, there was a significant increase in patrols in that area.”
Trent said the police force has also done some “more creative things” to decrease crime in the neighborhood, but he said he go not go into further detail.
“An increase in the visibility of uniformed officers is just one facet of what we’re doing,” he said.
In light of the carjacking, University Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Mark Poorman said Notre Dame is working with police to decrease off-campus crime in an email to the student body Friday Sept. 25.
Trent said the South Bend Police Department frequently teams up with Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP).
“We are involved in just continual contact with Notre Dame Security Police and their crime prevention efforts on practically a weekly basis,” he said.
The two units collaborate for safety fairs and meetings, and they and focus on crime prevention.
“I think they are as effective as students make them because most of these are common sense, yet good reminders,” he said.