- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

D.C. police have arrested two men on suspicion of a carjacking on Benning Road NE, within a few miles of the Petworth community in Northwest where a rash of carjackings occurred last weekend.
Police said four carjackings on Saturday and Sunday north of the Soldiers Home on North Capitol Street focused public attention on carjackings and may have resulted in the latest arrests. Police have arrested nine males, including two juveniles, since Sunday.
The latest arrests Tuesday night came following an investigation of a vehicle theft Saturday in the 4500 block of Benning Road NE, said information Officer Kenneth Bryson.
"There's no certainty that it is related to the other carjackings," Officer Bryson said, but, "Everyone is alert now because of those."
Each of the four carjackings in the 4th District was carried out by two men, at least one of whom carried a handgun or shotgun. The suspects were described as black men from 17 to 21 years old.
In a television interview yesterday, Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey urged motorists not to resist the carjackers, who are working in teams, because "it's not worth it."
The teams, which usually are armed, have specialized in two types of attacks. They either block the forward progress of the targeted vehicle and force the occupants to get out, or they bump the vehicle from the rear, then hold up the driver when he gets out to examine the damage.
When arrested, those carjackers are charged with auto theft. If the stolen vehicle is located and the driver cannot be linked to the theft, the charge may be "unauthorized use of vehicle."
Montgomery County police have been plagued with the latter types of crime. Yesterday, they warned motorists not to leave their engines running to keep vehicles warm while away on an errand.
Since Dec. 1, police said, 17 vehicles reported stolen were left running and unattended.
A typical incident was on Dec. 2, when a woman started her car outside her home in Montgomery Village, then went inside to get her son. Witnesses reported seeing two youths jump into the car and speed away.
On Dec. 20, a man left his car idling outside a market on East Diamond Avenue in Gaithersburg. The car was recovered 10 minutes after he reported it missing, but a driver's license, credit cards and bank checks had been stolen.
Ten of the 17 stolen vehicles have been recovered. They will be counted in a report by a task force established in 2000 to squelch auto theft in the metropolitan Washington area.
Last year, 521 suspects were arrested and 404 vehicles worth more than $5 million were recovered, according to Washington Area Vehicle Enforcement.
The task force, consisting of law-enforcement units from Prince George's and Montgomery counties, Maryland State Police, Metropolitan Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, reported 1,048 arrests and recovery of 917 vehicles since it was formed in April 2000.

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