Four people from D.C. have been arrested and charged following a string of armed carjackings and armed robberies in Silver Spring, Maryland, earlier this year, as law enforcement agencies from across Virginia, Maryland and the District have come together to form a regional carjacking task force.
That joint venture, so far, has led to the resolution of eight armed robberies and more than a dozen other crimes, as authorities aim to curb the spike in carjacking cases seen across the D.C. area during the coronavirus pandemic.
Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones, who announced the regional carjacking task force’s creation during a news conference in Gaithersburg on Thursday, said several suspects were wanted in three commercial robberies in Southwest D.C. and Silver Spring.
They are also accused of stealing a Volkswagen car in Alexandria, Virginia, before police said they were involved in three street robberies at ATMs in Silver Spring.
He said a group in the stolen Volkswagen was also tied to two other armed carjackings in Silver Spring, adding that they abandoned one of the cars and led police in Montgomery County and D.C. on multiple pursuits in two of the other stolen vehicles.
One of the police chases resulted in the arrest of 17-year-old Jeremiah Cox on Feb 5 in D.C. Jones said Cox admitted taking part in seven of the incidents in the crime spree. He is being charged as an adult.
Two more suspects, Elijah Day-Quan Greene-Parker, 18, and Rashaun Onley, 21, were later identified, but police did not catch them until Feb. 27, when the Arlington County, Virginia, SWAT team caught them after they barricaded themselves in a hotel room.
After their arrest, police said they found a pair of handguns in the suspects’ hotel room.
Greene-Parker and Onley, along with two others, are believed by police to have taken an Infiniti car in Silver Spring before another armed carjacking in Temple Hills.
Police said they located the Infiniti and arrested the driver and fourth suspect, Antonio Daylos Myles, 21, on Feb. 19 in D.C. He and Green-Parker are in custody in Montgomery County. Olney is in custody in Prince George’s County.
Jones said the group of Cox, Greene-Parker, Myles and Onley account for eight armed carjackings across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, plus eight commercial robberies in D.C. and Maryland, and five armed robberies of people at ATMs and the theft of an unattended car.
He said no one was seriously hurt during the crimes, but said people had their lives “seriously threatened” by the men.
Montgomery County police said they believe it is possible more suspects may have been involved.
Some of the evidence against the four include social media posts, where some of them allegedly admitted that they committed some of the crimes, said Jones, “most times, they can’t keep it to themselves; they’ve got to boast.”
Focusing back on the carjacking task force, Jones said the work is far from over as it investigates several unsolved cases.
Other task force partners, in addition to Montgomery County police, include police from Prince George’s County and D.C., plus the FBI and prosecutors from both counties.
In Montgomery County, there were 38 carjackings between September and February, a majority of them happening in Silver Spring and Bethesda, Jones said.
Two more than the 36 for the entire year of 2020, which itself was almost double what was seen the year before.
“We know that the potential is very high and clear that someone is going to get either seriously hurt or in fact killed in response to these individuals who are committing these offenses,” said Jones.
One case in particular that resonated with Jones happened hours before Thursday’s news conference.
He said a car was stolen in Germantown by two suspects while the victim’s child was still in the back seat.
Jones said the duo drove off but decided to return the car to the spot from which they took it once they found the child, only to then steal another car. Both suspects were later arrested, Jones said.
He added that all the cases are a reminder to the public that criminals are on the lookout for opportunities to strike.
“When they [the suspects] see situations where individuals have left themselves vulnerable in many ways, whether they’re at a bank ATM or whether they are at a gas station, they’re looking for that opportunity of potential victims,” Jones said.
He recommended that everyone should be aware of their surroundings; call police if something or someone seems suspicious; and never leave keys or purses inside cars when at home or filling up with gas.
Jones, who was asked about the number of carjacking cases across the area involving suspects who are not old enough to hold a driver’s license, said while some people may say boredom or video games are to blame for more children becoming involved in these sorts of crimes, he said it’s more than just that.
“I still think it’s them not understanding the seriousness of what they’re actually doing and a willingness to go out, and again, not only endanger the lives of others, but they’re also endangering their own lives,” Jones said.
Anyone with information in any of the cases mentioned can call Montgomery County police’s Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5100 or contact Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 866-411-TIPS (8477).