CHICAGO - Alyssa Blanchard was so traumatized after being carjacked at gunpoint last week outside her Calumet Heights home that she’s now scared to go outside.
Chicago police say a group of children, ages 10 to 17, carjacked Blanchard and at least 15 other people since late June — wreaking havoc on Blanchard’s generally peaceful South Side neighborhood.
Police said shots were fired by the suspects in two of the carjackings, but no one was hit.
“I’m scared to use my garage. I don’t feel safe in my neighborhood,” said Blanchard, an elementary school teacher at Chicago Public Schools.
What’s especially painful for Blanchard was seeing her stolen BMW used the next day to carjack a woman in the parking lot of Trinity Hospital, a few blocks from her home, she said.
“I don’t want to have to tell my kid about how some young woman was killed or shot with kids using my vehicle. It was traumatizing,” Blanchard, 44, said.
Blanchard was carjacked July 14 while returning home in the early evening. As she pulled into her alley garage on South Kingston Avenue, she noticed a vehicle and three or four children come toward her.
Two children armed with handguns pointed them to her head and ordered her out of her BMW, she said. One child looked as young as 11, she said.
“It was so instantaneous … I was just scared for my life. I thought, ‘this is it,’” she said.
They took her purse, which had about $300 inside, and jumped inside her BMW and rode off, she said.
Blanchard said the children used her BMW the next day to carjack a woman in the parking lot of Trinity Hospital. In that carjacking, a 21-year-old was seated in her Lexus when four or five teens exited a BMW, with two of them confronting her with guns, police said.
Two teens forced her to the ground outside the car, but she grabbed onto a door handle and held on until the teens drove off, police said. The woman was treated for a foot injury.
Blanchard said police recovered her BMW, which had been crashed a couple days after the carjacking.
Blanchard said she was dismayed to see such young children involved in this type of crime.
“I teach this age group and I can’t believe they would do this,” she said.
Police published a community alert Sunday evening warning of 14 other carjackings tied to the children. According to the alert, the children are committing the carjackings at a greater frequency, with six carjackings reported just last Saturday:
--June 23 in the 7200 block of South Champlain Avenue;
--July 9 in the 8000 block of South Indiana Avenue;
--July 15 in the 8700 block of South Stony Island Avenue;
--July 15 in the 7500 block of South Wabash Avenue;
--July 16 in the 9100 block of South Essex Avenue;
--July 16 in the 7300 block of South Chappel Avenue;
--July 17 in the 8800 block of South Luella Avenue;
--July 17 in the 8900 block of South Euclid Avenue;
--July 17 in the 9100 block of South Jeffrey Avenue;
--July 18 in the 9100 block of South Euclid Avenue;
--July 18 in the 8600 block of South Constance Avenue;
--July 18 in the 9300 block of South Paxton Avenue;
--July 18 in the 9300 block of South Essex Avenue;
--July 18 in the 1600 Block of East 92nd Place; and
--July 18 in the 8100 Block of South Indiana Avenue.
No arrest has been made, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call CPD’s vehicle highjacking task force at 312-745-4489.