A 14-year-old boy has been arrested for taking part in multiple carjackings including one involving an off-duty police officer, Chicago police said Thursday.
The boy’s arrest on Wednesday comes during a surge of carjackings that have alarmed both residents and city officials. Chicago police say carjackings rose about 135% last year to 1,415 and continue at a high pace this year.
While the youngest carjacker arrested in recent attacks was about 12 years old, the average age of the offenders is between 15 and 20, according to police. The perpetrators often work in crews and are motivated either by joyriding or using the stolen vehicle to commit other crimes.
The arrested 14-year-old, unnamed because he is a juvenile, is suspected of being involved in as many as nine carjackings and robberies that occurred between July and this month. Police allege that on Tuesday, the boy, who was on home electronic monitoring for another charge, carjacked a 38-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer.
In that attack, the teen and a 15-year-old accomplice were captured by surveillance cameras using a vehicle previously taken in a carjacking, police said. In addition to the vehicle, the offenders allegedly took her purse and cellphone. Investigators recovered the officer’s weapon, police said. The officer was not injured.
The teen, who was arrested after a brief foot chase, is charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, armed robbery, unlawful use of a weapon, possessing a stolen vehicle, robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, authorities said.