Police arrest Philly teens wanted in carjackings and Wawa robberies



Samantha Melamed // The Philadelphia Inquirer


Philadelphia police on Saturday night arrested two teens, aged 14 and 18, who they said had been wanted in a series of armed carjackings in the city, as well as the robberies of two Wawa stores in Upper Darby.


Officers on patrol around 8 p.m. near Broad and Wallace Streets in the city’s Spring Garden neighborhood recognized the suspects during a vehicle stop, police said. Both teens were armed and attempted to flee on foot, according to police. The 14-year-old was quickly apprehended, while the older suspect fled into a house on the 1200 block of Wallace Street, causing police to report a barricade situation. SWAT was called in and he, too, was arrested. Police recovered two loaded handguns, one from the car and the other from the house.


“These two arrests are a result of cooperation between the Philadelphia Police Department and also neighboring agencies,” Inspector D.F. Pace told 6ABC, which reported that authorities are investigating whether the two may be implicated in additional crimes. Charges were still pending as of Sunday morning, police said.


The arrests come as Philadelphia is grappling with an alarming spike in carjackings: The rate nearly quadrupled from 2019 to 2021, when there were 840 such attacks. This year, there have already been 140 carjackings, putting the city on an even more perilous pace.


The Inquirer has reported that authorities are not sure what’s driving the trend, which has affected every corner of the city and even endangered a member of Congress, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, whose car and belongings were taken at gunpoint near FDR Park in South Philadelphia in December.


Several incidents have culminated in gunfire, including by victims and police. A pizza delivery driver shot and critically wounded a would-be carjacker in Kensington in January, police said. A few weeks before that in Mount Airy, a 60-year-old man got into a shootout with a teen who demanded his car.


“This is like the new way of stealing a car, and it’s become very dangerous,” Chief Inspector Frank Vanore, told The Inquirer last week.

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