Detroit police give little information on elderly woman's carjacking

Robber targets 79-year-old on Concord Street, gets away with her gold Saturn car

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

DETROIT - A 79-year-old Detroit grandmother is frail, frightened and the latest carjacking victim in the city.

It happened Monday evening on Concord and Forest on the city's east side. That's just a block north of busy Gratiot Avenue and near a gas station. 

Plenty of people were around at 8 p.m. when, the women tells Local 4, she was ambushed from behind.

From behind her locked door, she says she's too afraid to come outside and talk.

Her daughter spoke for her, describing what happened. Her mother was in the driveway getting out of her car when a man came up from behind. 

"And my mother is disabled. She just had hip replacement surgery and it was easy for him to push her down and take whatever he wanted to take. He took the car," the daughter said.

The woman suffered some bruising, but is otherwise physically okay. Her daughter has been worried that her mother could become the victim of a carjacking. 

"Very upset. I've been concerned about that issue and being by herself for a while," she said.

Detroit police chief's call to action 

Since day one on the job as new Detroit police chief, James Craig says the city and his department must cut the numbers of carjackings in the city.

On Wednesday, Local 4 has learned the department's "Carjacking Task Force" met to review strategies on lowering the number of carjackings, and that's not an easy task. 

In an exclusive interview with Local 4's Shawn Ley, task force head Sgt. Vernal Newson says the team is using crime statistics against those who want to steal a car by force.

"When there is a robbery or a carjacking, that's where we will flood the area with officers and intelligence gatherers on foot," Newson tells Local 4. 

In fact, the strategy is having an immediate impact.

When the 79-year-old woman was carjacked Monday night, officers responded. Members of the task force canvassed the neighborhood and came up with a suspect in 4 hours. 

Police sources tell Local 4, shortly after that the woman's 4 door Saturn was found and an arrest was made.

Protect yourself 

Carjackings can happen in high crime areas of the city, but they also can take place in the suburbs.

Police point to a mom loading children and groceries into a minivan. Her back is turned and she can be an easy target. 

"Know your surroundings. Know how carjackers operate, they use the ‘ambush,'" Newson says. He says to look at the people around you, in a parking lot or on the street when you're in your driveway.

"You let them know that you see them and that they see you. That will deter a carjacking," Newson added. 

The most likely carjacking victims according to safety groups are: 

·         The elderly

·         Women alone or with children

·         Distracted drivers 

Carjackings can take place at traffic lights, parking lots, isolated streets and in driveways.

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