Ten Teens Accused in DC Carjacking Rings, Officials Say It was Like "Grand Theft Auto"

Ten teens have been charged with planning a string of car thefts in the D.C. area, according to two different indictments released Monday by Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Cedae Hardy, Landrell Jordan III, and Malik Norman are the teens who are being charged in federal court.

Hardy is the main defendant in the federal case. The alleged ring stole thirteen cars. They are Jaelen Jordan, Warren Montgomery, Byron Gillum, Isaiah Flowers, Jahkai Goff, Taj Giles, and Irshaad Ellis-Bey. They are charged with working together to steal three cars. A grand jury in D.C. Superior Court charged them.

Hardy is charged with six other car thefts and has been in jail since June. Investigators think that the two groups of people accused of carjacking may have worked together, and all of the people charged have been caught and are being held. Some of the suspects are said to have talked about carjackings in online chat rooms.

“One defendant is said to have written ‘GTA IRL,’ which we believe means Grand Theft Auto in real life, when talking about some of the carjackings covered by these indictments,” said U.S. Attorney Graves.

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All of the suspects are 18 or 19 years old, but some were only 17 when the alleged carjackings happened, and Graves said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is charging those people as adults because that’s what D.C. law allows.

When he spoke to the news media on Monday afternoon, Graves said that the “super majority” of people arrested for carjacking are minors and that few of them only do it once.

“These are not the careless crimes of a child who lost control for a short time.” “They are planned crimes done by people who are ready to put a gun to someone’s head for money or property,” Graves said. Teenagers are blamed for a number of car thefts that happened in D.C., Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County.

The people who stole the cars were cruel and didn’t feel sorry for the people they hurt. Among them were a dentist on her way to work, a mother buckling her kids into her car in front of an elementary school, an elderly couple pulling into their own driveway, a food delivery driver making his last delivery of the night, and a ride-share driver who we think didn’t understand Hardy’s commands and tried to push him out of his car, according to David Sundberg, assistant director in character “After that, he is said to have shot the driver in the forearm and abdomen, seriously hurting him.” More than 930 cars have been stolen in the district this year, and guns have been used in 77% of them.

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To stop the rise in carjackings in the city, Graves wants judges to charge as adults any teens or young adults who are suspected of a string of carjackings. People who are found guilty of armed carjacking must serve at least 15 years in jail, according to D.C. law. But Graves said that the 2018 Youth Rehabilitation Act in D.C. has made D.C. Superior Court judges ignore the required minimum sentence for carjackers under 25 years old because it is easier on young offenders.

Graves said that about 145 people have been arrested this year on charges of armed carjacking. More than 80% of them were underage, and only 12 were over 25 at the time of the claimed crime. “In short, D.C. law has gotten rid of the required minimum for armed carjacking,” Graves said. The seven people charged in D.C. Superior Court will be tried on Dec. 14.

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