Authorities in the metro-east arrested two people who are suspected of involvement in a carjacking Tuesday where two armed men blocked in a woman with their cars, but allowed her to grab her two young children before they fled in her vehicle.
A 23-year-old woman said Tuesday night in unincorporated Belleville she was blocked in by two cars, including a dark-colored jeep, and forced out of her vehicle by two armed men. She asked if she could retrieve her 3-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son from the car, which the men allowed her to do before the speeding off in the three cars.
St. Clair County police responded to the call on the 2600 block of Eastview Drive shortly before 11:30 p.m.
Authorities are now searching for either one or two more men who are suspected to have committed multiple carjackings in the metro-east and are considered armed and dangerous.
The man and woman were arrested onWednesday for driving a stolen vehicle in Granite City. Either one or two suspects involved in the carjacking are not in custody yet, Captain Bruce Fleshren said in a press conference Wednesday.
“They’re brandishing guns, removing children from vehicles while armed,” Fleshren said. “Clearly they’re on some type of crime spree and we’re very happy that we hope we’ve resolved it. But their actions are very dangerous.”
The dark-colored jeep spotted at the Tuesday night carjacking is suspected to have been stolen from Maryville and involved in other possible recent carjackings in the area.
Swansea police responded to a similar carjacking in the 1600 Block of North Belt West about 10 minutes before the Eastview carjacking.
Fleshren said the arrested suspects’ involvement in the original carjacking has not been determined yet, and their involvement determines how many suspects are potentially still at large.
“If they are involved, at a minimum we are looking for one more male suspect,” Fleshren said. “Or we still do not know who did the actual carjacking and are looking for the original two suspects.”
The suspects were described as two black males, one wearing a red “Nike” sweatshirt and the other wearing a black sweatshirt.
“We just took these people into custody and we’re starting out with a lot of information, a lot of vehicles, and a lot of locations,” Fleshren said. “But we’re very happy we were able to locate at least one of the suspects involved.”
Police across the metro-east and into St. Louis pursued and located the victim’s car, a 2009 Pontiac G8, at different locations as it made its way into Missouri.
The car was first spotted on Illinois 162 and Interstate 270 in Glen Carbon, where authorities pursued the car until it crossed Chain of Rocks bridge into Missouri. St. Louis police then relocated the car on Soulard Market and saw the suspects leave the victim’s car and get into a brown Mercury Marquis, which is suspected to be stolen as well.
St. Louis officers followed the car into Granite City, where they and Granite City authorities stopped the car and made the arrest.
Fleshren advised people should remain aware of their surroundings while driving and avoid getting boxed in to protect themselves from carjacking. He added people should try to get to a well-lit are with people are call the police if they are in that situation.