‘They don’t have to resort to a life of crime,’ says Chicago’s top cop following ‘heartbreaking’ arrest of 13-year-old boy and arrest of 16-year-old in carjackings

Rosemary Sobol, Chicago Tribune

A 13-year-old and a 16-year-old are accused in separate carjackings last week and last month, part of a “spike” in carjackings in the city that the Chicago Police Department is trying to tamp down, according to officials.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown tweeted about the arrests soon after they were announced Wednesday, urging parents and others to “work together to save our children.”

The 13-year-old was pulled over for a traffic stop shortly before midnight Tuesday in the 500 block of East 88th Street in the Burnside neighborhood.

As officers approached, the boy tried to get out of the vehicle, which was determined to have been stolen Jan. 7 in an armed carjacking in the 5100 block of West Strong Street in the Jefferson Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

The boy was charged with felony aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle, police said.

The 16-year-old, also arrested Tuesday, is accused of taking part in an armed carjacking Dec. 1 in the 2300 block of South Canal Street in the Chinatown neighborhood.

The 16-year-old, who was charged with felony vehicular hijacking with a firearm, was taken into custody in the 600 block of East 40th Street.

As police said they continue to investigate a “spike” in carjackings, Brown tweeted about the younger suspect.

“While accountability is important, the arrest of this 13-year-old is heartbreaking. To our faith leaders, educators, police and parents: we all must work together to save our children. They need to know they don’t have to resort to a life of crime,” Brown tweeted.

“They need to be held accountable, but we should all be connecting with our young people to prevent this from happening in the first place,” Brown said in a separate tweet. “We have to inspire them to find their purpose in the world.”

In a separate tweet, Chicago police called the carjackings “traumatic for the victims,” and urged people to “Be aware of your surroundings” and “Be safe.”

The boys, who are not being identified because they are juveniles, were scheduled to appear in court on the charges Wednesday.