WASHINGTON - Three cars were rear-ended this week in what police are describing as no accident but a ruse to try and steal the victims' cars.
D.C. police are looking for the men behind the carjackings. The thieves have successfully stolen three cars and attempted a fourth carjacking all using the same tactic and all occurring during daylight hours, police say.
The first rear-end carjacking occurred about 7 a.m. Aug. 28. A gray, two-door rear-ended the victim's vehicle, which was stopped for the light at Alabama Avenue and Naylor Street NE. When the victim got out to inspect the damage, one of the suspects ran into the victim's vehicle and then drove away. A second suspect drove away in the car that instigated the collision, police say.
This pattern was repeated at the intersection of Division Avenue and Eastern Avenue NE about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday when a black Toyota Avalon was stolen. The stolen Toyota was used in an attempted carjacking less than an hour later at the intersection of Fort Davis Drive and Massachusetts Avenue SE, according to police.
However this victim remained in her car and told one of the suspects that she was calling police. The suspects then fled in the Toyota, police say.
Thursday, another driver was rear-ended about 8 a.m. by a silver vehicle at the intersection of Hartford Street and Alabama Avenue SE. Again, when the victim got out of her car, a suspect climbed behind the wheel and fled with her vehicle. The vehicle that hit her also drove off.
The suspects are believed to be men in their early 20s. One of them has long dread locks, according to police.
D.C. police have some safety tips for drivers who are rear-ended:
- Stay in your car with the door locked
- Call 911
- If you can, write down the make, model and license plate number of the vehicle that hit you and note the driver's description
- If the vehicle leaves, note in which direction it traveled
- Note anything unique about the vehicle like if it had a cracked windshield, missing hubcaps, bumper stickers or had missing or broken side mirrors
"If it's a legitimate collision, the other driver should stick around and should understand until police come," says Justin McNaull, a spokesman for AAA. "If the person's up to no good, the person's going to see you on the phone and get out of there."
Cracking a window should be sufficient to talk with the other driver at first, McNaull says.
"If you're rear ended and it seems a little off, as though it perhaps was intentional, stay in the car; lock the doors," he says.
Police are asking for help identifying the suspects behind these carjackings. Anyone with information is asked to call 202-727-9099 or send a text tip by messaging 50411.
WTOP's Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.
© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.