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Police create task force to combat 'possible' string of carjackings in south St. Louis

On Tuesday evening, police found a 38-year-old woman dead behind her home off South Compton in south St. Louis after an attempted carjacking.

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) confirmed that the same group might be responsible for a string of carjackings and attempted carjackings in south St. Louis on Wednesday.

During SLMPD’s weekly crime briefing, Captain Joseph Morici told reporters the department formed a task force of detectives in the affected areas and that they would push for criminals to be held accountable.

On Tuesday evening, police found a 38-year-old woman dead behind her home off South Compton in south St. Louis.

Officials confirmed that the woman was shot in the face inside her car during an “attempted carjacking.”

Thirty-minutes before that, a couple was at the intersection of Gustine and Delor when two men inside a white Honda tried to carjack them. The couple was shot at but got away.

After midnight, there were three more carjackings and attempted carjackings that were also all in south St. Louis.

"I don't trust anyone...and you can't," Cheryl Piolet, a woman who was visiting relatives in South City on Wednesday near the fatal carjacking, said.

Piolet told 5 On Your Side she was robbed in north St. Louis years ago and has remained vigilant ever since.

"You know longer think oh I forgot my grocery list. You got to think. I got my grocery list. I prayed. I got my nine-millimeter and now I can go," she said.

Police have said that they believe it is mostly young people behind some of the crimes and call for accountability within the justice system.

In 2021, Missouri law changed so that 17-year-olds would be considered juveniles rather than adults if they are taken into custody.

"Holding individuals that need to be held for us to further our investigation," Capt. Morici said.

"The politicians. They've got to do better. They got to change the legislation or we're all going to be back in 'The Wild, Wild West,'” Piolet added.

Tips from police:

1. Watch your surroundings when parking or exiting your vehicle.

2. Do not sit in your vehicle if you don't have to.

3. Try to stay calm and get descriptions if you experience anything suspicious.

Anyone with information about the latest string of crimes is asked to call Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS. Reporters can remain anonymous.

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Resources for crime victims:

If you have been a victim of a crime or know someone who has been, 5 On Your Side has compiled a list of resources.

Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.

Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.

Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities.

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