DECATUR, Ga. - DeKalb police have broken up a large carjacking ring involving teenage suspects ages 14, 15 and 16, and police are now looking for others tied to the crime.
The victim said she ran inside of The Home Depot on New Snapfinger Woods Road for less than five minutes to get some light bulbs. When she came back, there was a young man behind her in the store parking lot, demanding her car keys at gunpoint.
The victim, who did not want to appear on camera, said the incident happened a few evenings ago at about 8:30 p.m., when two young teens tried to take her car.
"I said, 'look you all you're too young for this leave me alone,'" the victim said.
As she was talking to two of the suspects, she thought someone was coming to help her.
"Then it dawns on me -- oops he's with them, so he comes over, 'Oh no, I will kill you. They won't, but I will,'" she recalled.
That's when she gave up the keys and ran. Her story is just one in a string of carjackings since December, all in the Lithonia area, all targeting women. Many of the incidents have occurred in parking lots and at their homes. DeKalb detectives said they're looking at between 15 and 20 carjackings.
"For a while, it was one every day. As a matter of fact, a couple of them had bragged that they wanted to do three in one day," said DeKalb police Det. Adam Quigley.
Quigley said so far they've charged nine juveniles, two more as accessories, and they're working on arresting more young people. They said the suspects did it essentially for fun.
"They thought it was quick and easy, and it kind of spiraled out of control from there," he said.
"I hope they spend as much time in jail as the law will allow," victim said.
DeKalb detectives said their gang unit is now working to see if these carjackings are gang related. In the meantime, the number of carjackings in the Lithonia area have dropped dramatically.