Carjackings skyrocket during pandemic in troubling nationwide trend

Last Updated Apr 8, 2021 7:05 PM EDT

The number of carjackings has exploded during the pandemic. Carjackings have increased by more than 100% in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. They are up more than 343% in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., cellphone video showed Uber driver Mohammad Anwar trying to regain control of his Honda Accord after two teenage girls carjacked him and assaulted him with a Taser. The incident ended with Anwar's car on its side and the 66-year-old Pakistani immigrant and father of three dead. 

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Mohammad Anwar was remembered by his family as a beloved grandfather, father, husband, brother and uncle. GoFundMe

In Chicago, a woman screamed as a suspect threw her to the ground before getting away in her car. 

Investigators say the trend is driven by 12 to 15 year olds with time on their hands during the pandemic. Suspects are targeting people warming up their cars or delivery drivers. 

So what should motorists do to protect themselves from carjackings?

"Well, first and foremost, I think what you're doing is exactly what needs to be done — is being aware of your surroundings, and to get out of that situation if it doesn't feel right," Montgomery County police Chief Marcus Jones said. 

Navy sailor Draper Younce was waiting for a friend when he was ordered to give up his car at gunpoint. 

"I see movement out of my camera and a man runs up to me, puts a gun to my face and tells me to get out of the car," Younce said. 

The cameras part of his Tesla showed the suspect running toward him, and as Younce steps on the gas to escape, what you don't see is the suspect firing at him. The bullets hit the pillar between the front driver's side door and the back passenger door where that camera is, he said.

Younce said he feels lucky. "A little bit of luck was involved with that."