Breaking News
More () »

String of carjackings in south St. Louis 'possibly connected,' public safety director says

Public safety director Dan Isom said the suspects who committed the crimes had similar descriptions to the same crew involved in crimes at City Foundry.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis’ Public Safety Director Dan Isom said during a press conference on Tuesday that three carjackings in south St. Louis were possibly connected.

According to St. Louis police, a young man wearing all black and a black mask forced a woman out of her Toyota Camry with a gun in the Aldi Parking lot at Gravois Plaza just before 5 p.m. Monday. The suspect drove off in the sedan and another vehicle followed.

Officials added that another woman was stopped while waiting for traffic to clear at Bellerive and Grand when a dark-colored sedan did a U-turn to block her in. Two men got out and forced her out of her 2021 Volkswagen Jetta.

Thirty minutes after that at Hampton Village in the Schnucks parking lot, a man had just gotten into his 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback when a suspect about 16 years old tapped his window and threatened to shoot him before driving off.

5 On Your Side talked to a man who did private security of a store that had been robbed in 2022 in Gravois Plaza.

"I had been homeless for the last three years and had to get back on my feet. People work way too hard for the stuff that they have," said Jerome Hart.

Hart said the shopping mall often sees criminal activities and he witnessed two cars doing donuts in the parking lot around the time the woman was robbed at the grocery store on Monday.

"It's easier for a person to go to a store, a restaurant, a factory and they will hire you on the spot. They really want you to get off the streets and get a job. I really want people to start doing the same thing," he said.

Tuesday morning, the city's outgoing Public Safety Director Dan Isom said the suspects who committed the crimes had similar descriptions to the people involved in crimes at City Foundry over the weekend in midtown St. Louis.

Armed teens were taken into custody and then later released to their parents. Isom stressed that accountability was something that needed to be addressed and they would work to figure out why the teens were let out.

“They [police] are looking for them. and hopefully, we will be able to talk to the juvenile system and get some resolution to this case,” Isom said.

There were multiple cameras in both shopping center lots where that happened.

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court provided the following statement regarding alleged crimes at City Foundry:

"The 22nd Judicial Circuit has determined that procedures by the St. Louis
City Family Court's intake staff and the city police weren't followed with
regard to the youths held in connection with gunfire Saturday near the City
Foundry. The police did not bring them to juvenile court for detention. No
juvenile legal officer or judge was contacted regarding the incident.

"Instead, a phone call occurred between the intake office and a police
officer. The parties disagree as to the content of the conversation. As of
today's date, none of the juveniles has been brought to St. Louis City
Family Court for referral, detention or charges. Once police present the
youths, a juvenile officer will review the evidence for legal sufficiency
and assess them for detention pursuant to Missouri statutes and Supreme
Court rules."

A Public Safety Department spokesperson provided the following statement regarding the incident: 

"SLMPD officers followed longstanding precedent when calling the Family Court’s intake staff to report apprehended juveniles, just as the Family Court’s intake staff followed longstanding precedent by telling officers to release them to their parents. Saturday’s incident emphasizes the need to formalize the new communication and intake procedures discussed by the Court and SLMPD in recent weeks. The City first reached out to the 22nd Circuit Court last year to discuss gaps in communication and looks forward to formalizing an official procedure in the days ahead to prevent miscommunication and ensure better outcomes.

"The firearms were still seized as evidence, an incident report was still prepared, and a referral will be made with the Family Court, meaning the juveniles may still face criminal charges."

A police officer patrolled Gravois Plaza and a private security guard watched over the Hampton Village parking lot during the day on Tuesday.

Anyone with information that can help track the suspects down is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

Before You Leave, Check This Out