The youngest suspect is 11 years old.
As vehicle thefts continue to plague the city of Detroit, police officials have confirmed the arrest of three suspects who were caught attempting to steal several examples of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat. This comes as no surprise, as American automakers have been the target of car thieves for many months now.
What does come as a surprise, though, is the age of the suspects - 11, 12, and 14. Police Lieutenant Clive Stewart told Fox 2 he's never seen something like this before. "Doing this as long as I've been doing this, 11 is the youngest ... they think it's fun and there is no penalty to it."
Thankfully, the trio of juvenile suspects was caught before they got behind the wheel of the 717-horsepower muscle cars. The Hellcat models can be a handful for experienced drivers, so who knows what sorts of havoc the youngsters may have caused if successful.
As bizarre as this sounds, Lt. Stewart thinks the kids are being used as puppets by an older crime boss. "I would think somebody a little older got these kids out here and are putting in orders ... the older offenders know, 'I can do this and not really have my hands on it because I didn't really steal the car,'" he added.
This isn't an isolated incident, either. Over the weekend, police arrested another 14-year-old for carjacking. The young suspect was out on bond from a previous car theft when he was caught stealing two cars last week. According to Lt. Stewart, the suspect is also linked to armed robberies. "Here we are a couple of months later, we are dealing with the same juvenile once again."
Compared to 2021's figures, Detroit police note carjackings have increased by a whopping 40%. Despite the overwhelming battle ahead of Stewart's Commercial Auto Theft Unit, he is adamant that things are going to get better. "I definitely see that we are moving in the right direction. It's a little slow, but we are gaining traction."
The latest batch of suspects was apprehended at Stellantis' Jefferson North Plant, which isn't too far from Ford's Miller Rd lot. The Blue Oval has been targeted repeatedly, with bandits helping themselves to new vehicles on several occasions. In June, over a dozen F-150 Raptors were stolen, and, while the performance trucks were recovered, it's still a massive headache for the automaker.
A week prior to this mass Raptor poaching, several Shelby Mustang GT500s were stolen. Knowing that these vehicles are parked in a crime-riddled area, it's bizarre to think these automakers haven't invested in heavier security. Even GM has been affected. In May, a handful of Camaros were stolen from the company's Lansing facility. Sadly, all five were wrecked beyond repair.