There’s no doubt that technology provides outstanding tools to help the police solve crimes, but it’s still the fast thinking, experience, and action of the police out on our streets that puts the handcuffs on criminals.
In the 22nd District, we have police officers who consistently go above and beyond to keep our community safe. Recently, Tactical Officers Alex Pickett and Danny Papadatos helped put the brakes on a carjacking.
It all started when a man who was delivering a pizza near 47th and Indiana at about 7 p.m., made the mistake of leaving the keys in the ignition of his 2014 Ford Focus while he brought the pizza to the customer’s door.
Three males got in the car, started it up and began to drive away. The car owner tried to stop them, and was struck by the car. It looked like the men were going to get away with their crime.
Police had quickly shared details about the stolen car, and at 10:26 p.m., recently installed license plate readers (LPRs) detected the vehicle driving north on Western at 103rd Street. Officers in the 22nd District Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC) were alerted by the LPR technology to the movement of the stolen vehicle and broadcast it over the police radio zone.
Tactical Officers Alex Pickett and Danny Papadatos responded and, in their search for the stolen vehicle, observed parked in a lot at 96th and Western, with two males inside.
Officers Pickett and Papadatos placed the vehicle under surveillance and followed at a distance when it left the lot and headed south on Western. The officers said in an interview that the suspects must have seen they were being followed. At the intersection of 99th and Western, they crashed into another vehicle, then tried to flee, but were apprehended almost immediately.
The driver and passenger in the stolen car – both age 16 — were placed into custody and charged with unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
“Due to the integration of LPR technology into police operations, the attentive officers in the SDSC Room, and the quick response by 022nd District Tactical Officers Pickett and Papadatos, two juvenile car thieves were placed into custody and a stolen vehicle was returned to a carjacking victim” said 22nd District Commander Sean Joyce.
Officers Pickett and Papadatos said that in most incidents, carjacking is a crime of opportunity and shared their advice for protecting yourself from becoming a victim.
Never leave keys in a vehicle, even if you lock the doors. Criminals have technology, too, and they use it to break into vehicles that most of us think of as securely locked.
Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t become distracted. Carjackers look for people who are easy prey.
Take precautions when meeting a stranger, such as delivering an item purchased on Craigs list or another application. Always meet in a well-lit area where it’s busy.