Thieves use ruse to lure driver out of their vehicle

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EAST ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – If you see someone lying in the middle of the road, you might park your car and get out, to make sure he or she is ok.  But now, East St. Louis police are warning you not to do that. All because of recent carjackings.

One vehicle theft happened right in front of William Henderson’s mother’s home, near Roosevelt public housing.  “A guy laid in the street,” Henderson recalled, “and a woman got out to see if he was all right, and some guys ran out of the bushes and pulled guns on her. That’s awful.”

Police say the armed men robbed her and took off in her car.  It happened again, just a few blocks away, on Bunkum and 37th street.

East St. Louis Police Captain Bobby Cole says there’s another modus operandi these thieves are resorting to as well, all within the past few weeks.  He explained, “A young lady pulled up to a stop sign, and as soon she pulled up behind them, two to three guys ran back to her vehicle and also robbed her.”

No one is in custody yet, and just one of the stolen vehicles has been located.  “We’re looking for the public’s help to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Cole said.

It’s unfortunate to suggest people shouldn’t help when they see someone lying in the middle of the street, but that’s exactly what East St. Louis police say needs to be done now.  “If they don’t see it and they run up on it, we definitely don’t want anybody to get run over, but if they can go around without causing another accident…we’re hoping they’re able to get somewhere safe and call 911,” Cole explained.

Henderson added, “It’s awful because guess what? If I was stranded or hurt, I would want someone to stop and help me, but you’d be too afraid to stop and help. Now, even me, I’m the guy who would help, but now, I’m not stopping.”

As to whether these carjackings are all related, police can’t say for sure, but they do know that each case involves three to four armed men, and two of the instances are very similar.​

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