(WTNH) – It’s alarming and downright frightening. Carjackings are increasing in Connecticut, putting innocent lives in harm’s way. News 8 is taking a look at how cars are stolen and what happens to the people caught in the middle.
Some cars stolen in the suburbs are later linked to deadly crimes and the mounting frustration inside police departments. Police say stolen cars are at the center of almost all of the violent juvenile crimes.
A teenager, armed and desperate, steals a running car from a gas station while a girl in the backseat on her phone is waiting for her father to return.
News 8 tracked the stolen cars, boosted from garages, taken at gunpoint in broad daylight from the post office or the bakery. Police say at the center of this are gun-wielding juveniles, some not even old enough to shave. They speed through the cities, crashing cars, killing people, injuring officers.
“It is a very dangerous situation, we have seen acts of violence committed from one youth to another, we have seen the death of youth, we have seen the death of innocent bystanders,” said Chief Fernando Spagnolo, Waterbury Police Department.
Some people are saying that crime is not really going up, but there’s a historic new record for Waterbury. There were 109 stolen cars recovered, 71 of those from out of the city that were brought there. All of those recovered cars, but very few arrests were made because they are juveniles and very difficult to prosecute.
“The numbers just keep getting greater every month. It’s taxing on the patrol officers, it’s taxing on the auto theft squad,” said Captain Michael Ponzillo, Waterbury Police Department.
The families stunned, picking up the pieces from a 16-year-old murdered in Hartford to a community leader in New Britain who was struck by a stolen car while running.
“This is the first time I feel hopeless, what do we have to do? What do we have to do to prevent another child from dying in the cities? What do we have to do to stop these dead bodies on the streets? We are sick and tired of it. Blood has been on the streets all this year,” said Reverend Henry Brown.
A hopeless feeling, but they will not quit.
All sides are looking to lawmakers to take a closer look at some of the changes they have made over the past 10 years and re-examine whether they are working or not.