ALLEGHENY CO., Pa. — An arrest warrant has been issued for a juvenile suspected of involvement in a car-theft ring targeting Southwest Allegheny County, and concern is growing that the crime spree is escalating, with guns now believed to be involved.
11 Investigates broke the news earlier this week that dozens of vehicles in several neighborhoods were stolen and ransacked for valuables over the past month. The targeted communities include Beechview, Scott Township, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Kennedy Township, Bethel Park, and more.
Several police agencies are now working together, and with the help of surveillance video, Scott Township police have issued an arrest warrant for one of the suspects. No name is being released because the individual is a juvenile, but police are hopeful that they can identify others involved, too.
Sources tell 11 Investigates that the urgency to catch the criminals is increasing because the crime spree appears to be escalating. The “bold and brazen” car thefts in the South Hills are now believed to be linked to other crimes, including the drive-by shooting of an EMS unit on the North Side last week in Manchester. Investigators believe one of the cars stolen from Bethel Park last week was used in that shooting. Luckily, no one was hurt.
Investigators are also looking at a possible connection to the theft of a firefighter’s personal truck right outside the Brighton Heights fire station on the North Side. That theft was caught on surveillance video.
Several of the stolen cars have been found ditched on the North Side, including a white Mercedes stolen during the latest rash of thefts in Scott Township, Monday.
Neighbors in that community provided police with several surveillance videos that show the thieves in action.
In one, you can see one of the suspects walk across the street. In another, you can’t see faces, but you can hear voices. One suspect is heard yelling, “Let’s go!” and “Move, hurry up!”
The group of thieves seems to panic after they scrape the side of one of the cars as they are backing out of a driveway.
Now, Scott Township police are asking for help from residents in their community. On the department’s Facebook page, police asked people who live in the Salvini Plan, Rock Hill Road, and Brookfield Road areas to check their security cameras for more possible surveillance video that captures any activity.
“We have approximate times between 3 a.m-5 a.m. The vehicles involved are a black explorer, white Mercedes sedan, silver Ford Escape, and a gray Honda Pilot. There are also several suspects involved,” the Facebook post says.
The post asks anyone who finds video to please contact Scott Township Detective Shawn Arlet at email@example.com or 412-276-7725 x242.
Multiple departments are now working together on this investigation. Several police sources who spoke with 11 Investigates tell us they want to catch the suspects before this escalates any further and someone gets hurt.
One last, very important point: All the vehicles stolen or ransacked had one thing in common — the doors were left unlocked. Police are urging residents to always lock your car doors — even if your car is in your driveway.
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