Three more teenagers suspected of being involved in car-jackings across Birmingham have been arrested during morning raids as West Midlands Police ramps up its pursuit of those behind the attacks.
The boys, aged 16, were detained during warrants in Tyseley, Balsall Heath and Moseley this morning (26/04) and have been taken into police custody for questioning over a series of violent vehicle robberies in east Birmingham.
West Midlands Police launched an investigation in February following reports of motorists being attacked for their vehicles in the Moseley and Kings Heath areas; in some cases drivers were left with minor burns after being shocked with stun-gun type devices.
The enquiry has now led to the arrest of more than 20 people – including a boy as young as 13 – and charges brought against several suspects. A stun-gun has been recovered as part of the investigation.
Detective Sergeant Phil Poole is leading the enquiry. He said: “Today’s warrants have been successful: we’ve detained the suspects and seized a large sum of cash, mobile phones, a car key and clothing.
“We’re linking up to 30 car-jacking offences in east Birmingham since last October and we believe these teenagers are involved in a conspiracy to steal vehicles. The majority of the crimes are being committed by teenagers…and we suspect the conspiracy is being co-ordinated largely on social media platforms like WhatsApp.
“The age of the suspects has been one of the most disturbing aspects of this investigation: we’ve arrested boys as young as 13 and two 14-year-olds are now in youth offenders’ institutes having been charged and remanded.
We have recovered all but two of the stolen cars and it seems offenders are not targeting particularly high-value vehicles. Our enquiries suggest the offences are being committed ‘for kicks’ or bravado among a peer group of young men and boys.
“But as our action this morning proves, this is not a game and there are very real, serious consequences for anyone getting involved in car-jackings. Age is no excuse; if you are committing these offences we will come knocking and you will find yourself in police custody. These teenagers are jeopardising their entire futures by getting involved.”
A specialist team of CID officers was set up to investigate the spate of car-jackings, to probe potential links between offences and identify those responsible.
Birmingham East Police Inspector Neil Kirkpatrick added that, although the force has made a significant number of arrests, drivers should still be vigilant and can take steps to help them avoid becoming a victim.
He added: “A number of offences have happened when people are sitting in their cars with the doors unlocked. By remembering to lock your doors can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
“We would also ask people to be aware of their surroundings, if they see anything suspicious then please call us so we can investigate further.
“We do not underestimate the impact this type of crime has on people and we would like to reassure the victims and the public that we will leave no stone unturned to find those responsible.”