Police: Crime spree Sunday involved teenagers, stolen vehicles, crashes along Atkinson Avenue

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A crime spree involving several stolen vehicles and crashes along Atkinson Avenue Sunday night, September 7th has police looking for suspects. Police say they've taken two teenagers into custody -- ages 15 and 16.

It all started around 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

That's when police were dispatched to the 500 block of N. 27th Street, where a man was assaulted, and his 2004 Honda Pilot SUV was stolen by a group of five suspects.

Twenty minutes later, police were dispatched to the 1900 block of N. Bartlett Avenue -- where they learned that a group of five suspects in the stolen Honda Pilot assaulted a man, and attempted to take money from him.

Ten minutes later, at 4:30 p.m., police learned a group of suspects in the Honda Pilot assaulted a woman and stole her 2001 Toyota 4-Runner SUV.

Two hours later, around 7:30 p.m., officers in the 1100 block of W. Capitol Drive noticed the two stolen vehicles traveling side-by-side. Officers attempted to stop the vehicles, but the drivers refused to stop, and a pursuit was initiated.

The Toyota 4-Runner crashed in the 4300 block of N. 27th Street and the occupants fled.

The Honda Pilot collided with a parked vehicle in the 4400 block of N. 28th Street and then struck a vehicle head-on in the 2800 block of W. Atkinson Avenue.

The driver of that vehicle, a 54-year-old Milwaukee woman, was taken to the hospital. She is expected to survive.

Several suspects fled from the vehicle and two were taken into custody -- a 16-year-old Milwaukee male and a 15-year-old Milwaukee female.

Police are continuing to search for the other suspects that fled.

The two teenagers in custody could face several charges. Their cases will be presented to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in the coming days.

Juan Herrejon runs a security company on the block where the first vehicle was stolen Sunday.

"It`s a crowd mentality and it seems to be catching on in Milwaukee. I`m not sure if it`s anger because of certain things going on in their lives -- but it`s unfortunate," Herrejon said.

Milwaukee Police Officer Mellisa Takacs works with young offenders and says carjackings among minors is considered fashionable in some circles.

"The majority of our probation and parole kids are all carjackings or straight auto theft. It`s almost a game to them. There was one individual that said it was like being in a video game or being in a movie," Officer Takacs said.

Just one day before Sunday's crime spree, a 17-year-old boy was killed when the stolen vehicle he was riding in was T-boned by another car that didn't stop for a stop sign.

It happened Saturday, September 6th around 12:30 a.m.

Police say the 17-year-old boy's car was headed westbound on Becher when it was struck by a northbound car, which didn't stop for a stop sign.

Two people in the 17-year-old boy's car suffered serious injuries.

Police say the driver of the striking vehicle -- a 23-year-old Milwaukee man was taken to the hospital with injuries. He is expected to survive. A 28-year-old female passenger wasn't hurt.

Two other occupants of that vehicle reportedly fled from the scene on foot.

Investigators say based on witness statements and the amount of damage, it appears the northbound car was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Police say the vehicle the 17-year-old boy was driving had been stolen from a nearby neighborhood.

Police say this case is an example of what teens are willing to risk to commit these crimes.

"A thrill. There is really no other reason other than that.  They are out there to have fun and terrorize citizens," Officer Takacs said.

Because they are minors, Officer Takacs says even if they are arrested, it might not be long before they are released.

"While they are being released, they are committing additional offenses," Officer Takacs said.

We have seen quite a few cases of vehicles being stolen this summer. There are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

Police are asking drivers to lock their vehicles, use a club on the steering wheel, and never leave your car running.

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