Baltimore police investigate dozens of rideshare carjackings

Dec 21, 2022, 1:15 AM | Updated: 6:05 pm
Commissioner Michael Harrison and FBI Baltimore Special Agent In Charge Thomas Sobocinski announce ...

Commissioner Michael Harrison and FBI Baltimore Special Agent In Charge Thomas Sobocinski announce the arrest of six people related to a wave of carjackings and robberies using ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Baltimore, Md. (Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

(Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Police in Baltimore are investigating dozens of rideshare carjackings and robberies over the past month but have seen more cases despite several arrests, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Wednesday.

In many cases, an active rideshare driver’s car and phone are stolen and the carjacker then poses as a driver, using the rideshare app to pick up unsuspecting riders, who are robbed through mobile payment apps or taken to ATMs to withdraw cash, Harrison said at a news conference.

“These incidents involve both drivers and customers, with multiple incidents where victims were forced into the vehicle, essentially being kidnapped, and then driven around to various areas,” Harrison said.

There have been 39 such cases since Nov. 22 and the most recent case was on Tuesday, he said. Six teens with ties to 12 of the cases have been arrested, Harrison said. Four of the six, who range in age from 15 to 18, have prior arrests and there are two open warrants for one more suspect, he said. Another nine people have been arrested in relation to other crimes linked to the rideshare carjackings, Harrison said.

“While we have made some arrests, we saw it continue so we know that there are more people out there who have not yet been arrested,” he said, calling on people to help police identify the perpetrators.

The carjackings and robberies have been happening primarily in the department’s southern district, but they are also crossing into neighboring Baltimore County, Harrison said. The suspects, male and female juveniles, often work in pairs or groups, he said.

“It is important for our riders to be able to get around, especially in colder months, to buy groceries, to go to work, to run errands. And therefore this is absolutely a top priority for all of us,” Harrison said. “We must protect the quality of life of our friends, our neighbors, and our co-workers.”

Uber encouraged riders to double check the details of their ride before getting in and for users to cancel trips if they don’t feel safe.

“The reported attacks are horrifying,” Uber said in a statement. “We’re in close touch with law enforcement to support their continued investigation and worked with them to send safety tips to riders and drivers in the Baltimore area.”

Calling the crimes “absolutely unacceptable,” Lyft said in a statement that it has also been in touch with law enforcement and had offered support to impacted drivers.

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incidents described are deeply troubling,” Lyft said.

City police have updated carjacking protocols to get information on these incidents in real time, uploading information to the department’s license plate reader system and getting information to patrol officers to look out for these vehicles, Harrison said.

The FBI is working with city police and has opened several investigations involving numerous individuals, according to Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore field office. The department is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General to prosecute these cases, Harrison said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
10 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
10 hours ago
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, a large balloon drifts above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the ...
Associated Press

Not just balloons: How US sees China spying as major worry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese balloon that traversed the United States before being shot down last weekend captivated public attention and drew sharp denunciations as a brazen spying effort. But if the vehicle for espionage seemed novel, the concept was anything but. In ways that are far less public, but often more worrisome, U.S. officials […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives a peace sign as he is applauded by Speaker of the Hou...
Associated Press

Zelenskyy flies West: If it’s Thursday, this must be Belgium

BRUSSELS (AP) — First, the Ukrainian president flew overhead on his way to Washington. Then on Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy flew overhead to Britain. And then to Paris. Fourth time lucky? He might stop by the European Union headquarters where the bloc’s leaders meet on Thursday — security concerns permitting. Almost a year after the Russian […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mexico finds 14 bodies in overturned pickup truck in canal

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in northern Mexico say they have found the bodies of 14 people in an overturned pickup truck submerged in a canal. The civil defense office in the northern border state of Nuevo Leon said Wednesday that five Guatemalan identification cards or passports were found on the bodies. The office said […]
1 day ago
Students return to Richneck Elementary in Newport News, Va., on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.  The element...
Associated Press

Parents at school where boy, 6, shot teacher prepare to sue

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The families of two students at a Virginia elementary school where a 6-year-old shot and wounded his teacher have filed notices of potential legal action against the school system over trauma they say the shooting inflicted on their children. The parents of a first-grader said their daughter was in the classroom […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Baltimore police investigate dozens of rideshare carjackings