A new Facebook group is hoping to help people recover stolen cars in Chicago.
Some victims are taking matters into their own hands as police continue to see an increase in carjackings in the city.
It was over the weekend when a single mother of four was carjacked by two men near Roosevelt and Whipple.
“One came around the side and the other came around the front,” said the victim, who did not want to share her name. “The other in front of the car. He told me to get out and if I tried to drive off that he would shoot.”
The 35-year-old victim said she was parked outside a relative’s house waiting to pick up her kids when she was confronted.
“I was panicking,” she said. “I was scared so I got out and gave them my vehicle so my life wouldn’t be taken.”
The victim told NBC 5 she recently bought the car and only had it for two months when the carjackers got away with her 2012 black Lincoln MKZ. Her story was one of many shared to a Facebook group called Chicago Stolen Car Directory.
“I’ve noticed that members are very responsive in that group. They post a lot of comments on people’s cars like if they see them,” said Matthew Nalett, who created the group two months ago.
The group now has 5,000 members from across the Chicagoland area. Victims of stolen cars would post pictures of their vehicles, VIN and license plate numbers in the group hoping someone will spot the car and alert them of the location.
“It’s helping people kinda like GPS their car without really GPS-ing their car,” he said. “They know what area that car may be in or potentially in.”
Since launching, Nalett and his group recovered more than 40 cars. In one case they recovered a stolen Bentley after someone tried selling it on OfferUp for $15,000. Nalett said he knows it’s a community based effort relying on everyone to be the eyes and ears.
“I think it’s great because everybody is able to help each other,” he said.
Nalett said some officers are part of the group, but Chicago police have not confirmed that with NBC 5. CPD sent us a statement saying the department encourages victims to report the crime and not take matters into their own hands.