Originally published on Feb. 22
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Two teenagers accused of carrying out a violent carjacking spree face more than 30 charges combined.
Police say Kashawn Wertman and Nautica Argue terrorized innocent drivers across the Twin Cities last month.
They're only two suspects in a problem that's rattled our sense of safety. But what happens after the accused get caught? WCCO's Jennifer Mayerle is tracking their cases for us.
Wertman and Argue, each with more than a dozen felony charges against them, are accused of carjacking unsuspecting people across the Twin Cities over 10 days in January. The string of carjackings, thefts and robberies occurred in St. Louis Park, Minneapolis, St. Paul and at least 12 other communities.
One attempted carjacking was caught on camera outside an Edina daycare, showing a mom confronted while picking up her child.
The charging documents detail the crimes, in which force was threatened in many of the cases. A mother's keys and car were forcibly taken outside a middle school during a basketball game; assaults outside a shopping center; a carjacking in Brooklyn Center where a victim was punched in her face.
Police say the duo identified in part by surveillance video, pictures posed in stolen vehicles, and distinctive clothing that matched posts on social media. Police arrested the two on Jan. 18 after a chase in stolen Audi, and booked them into the Hennepin County Jail.
Argue, 19, pushed her Omnibus hearing to the end of March. That's a pre-trial hearing where the judge will determine if there's enough evidence to move forward. A plea could also be entered.
During Wertman's virtual hearing, the 18-year-old said he wants a speedy trial, and told the judge he's "just trying to get to sentencing." That has to happen within 60 days, with a jury trial set for April 18. During that hearing, Wertman's attorney noted prosecutors told them additional charges are pending. Both remain in custody at the Hennepin County Jail.
Minneapolis has seen two dozen more carjackings so far this year compared to last year. There were 64 carjackings at this time last year, compared to 88 this year.
St. Paul has seen a drop. At this time last year, the city had 27 carjackings. There have been nine so far this year. Police can't say that's because of a specific arrest, but it's possible.
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