CHICAGO — A 73-year-old Calumet Heights man was the most recent victim of a spike in carjackings seen across Chicago in recent weeks.
The elderly man was driving to work around 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to police, when a white Hyundai sedan stopped in front of his car near the 2600 block of East 91st Street.
Five men got out of the sedan, approached the man’s car and pulled him out before one of them punched him in the face, police said. Leaving him behind, they fled in both vehicles.
The man’s grandson said he is shaken but otherwise okay. No one has been taken into custody and the investigation is ongoing.
National Insurance Crime Bureau President David Glawe says Chicago is in the middle of the biggest rise in carjackings of the past decade.
A national study by the NIC found a more than 9% increase in auto thefts in 2020, including carjackings.
“Stolen vehicles have many uses, outside of juveniles using them to commit other crimes. There is a whole criminal enterprise to facilitate money laundering or smuggling,” Glawe said.
There have already been 185 carjackings in Chicago so far this year, according to the Chicago Police Department.
While there have been 123 arrests related to stolen vehicles, many were only charged with misdemeanor trespass to a vehicle.
Chicago Alderman Stephanie Coleman said she plans to declare a State of Emergency concerning women and seniors being targeted in many of these carjackings, calling for a greater emphasis to be put on protecting them from violent incidents.