Press Releases

Baltimore (Md.) April 3, 2024 - Today, State's Attorney Ivan J. Bates and his Major Investigations and Juvenile units were joined by Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley and a new BPD Task Force, along with several Community Relations Council members to announce the takedown of a juvenile carjacking group operating across seven of the nine police districts in the city.

"There can be no question that this group contributed significantly to the uptick in juvenile crime and carjackings that Baltimore experienced in 2023," said State's Attorney Ivan J. Bates. "While arrests were made during this period, the BPD task force worked tirelessly with my office to identify the juveniles involved in these crimes across jurisdictions and connect the dots as to how the group operated. I thank both teams for making today's announcement possible and restoring accountability to our streets." 

An instrumental part of this takedown was a newly created BPD task force, led by Deputy Commissioner Kevin Jones, Lt. Col. John Herzog, Detective Melissa Warczynski, Detective Victor Liu, Sergeant Ryan Messimer, and Sergeant John Riker. The task force utilized cross-jurisdictional coordination to identify the 20 juveniles involved in these repeated armed carjackings and related offenses.

“I am extremely proud of this task force and their unwavering commitment to the crime fight. The goal was to reduce the rate of juvenile crimes and carjackings in Baltimore. Through their exceptional work and efforts, that’s exactly what they did with this investigation,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley. “This group terrorized our neighborhoods, and that will not stand. We will continue to bring to justice anyone who has such a blatant disregard for the law.”

The 15-week investigation, that began in mid-October, conducted by the State's Attorney's Office (SAO) Juvenile and Major Investigations units, in partnership with the BPD task force, began after complaints and reports of armed carjackings came into the office, including that of Senate President Bill Ferguson on behalf of the community he represents.

“I want to thank State's Attorney Ivan Bates and Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley for their collaborative efforts in stopping this group from operating further in Baltimore,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson. “I am certain this was only possible through strong coordination throughout all agencies involved. I am grateful for their work to make Baltimore safer for all to enjoy."

The SAO is currently in the process of charging 113 cases for 53 incidents involving this group of 20 juveniles, whose ages range from 12 to 17. Those who are eligible will be charged as adults. The investigation found that this group was committing offenses in sub-groups of two to eight members at a time, with the majority of crimes occurring over a six to eight-week period between October and November of 2023, impacting seven of the nine police districts in the city. The alleged offenses include armed robbery, armed carjacking, assault, and handgun violations. Many of the juvenile offenders have histories of non-compliance with GPS and electronic monitoring. In roving groups, they would commit upwards of 16 incidents of armed robberies and armed carjackings in just one night.

The investigation found that crime sprees would start in one district before moving through the city, with the juveniles committing crimes as they went. Only the Northwest and Northeast districts appear to have been untouched by these apparent crimes of opportunity.

After meeting with Governor Moore, State's Attorney Bates calls for an end to the "catch and release" policy and asks for a "catch and assess" policy instead. We hope that when BPD arrests a young person, the Department of Juvenile Services will take custody of the young person, allowing time for a more extensive assessment of the youth and the family to determine the necessary services. We must also ensure parents or guardians are involved in this process, notified of their responsibility, and understand their legal duties and obligations. If the parent or guardian is not reporting delinquencies or reaching out for further assistance, the SAO will be looking to prosecute the parents or guardians for "causing the delinquency of a minor," which carries a $2500 fine, three years in prison, or both. The SAO will also be seeking restitution from parents in every case. We cannot allow our residents to be victimized twice in this scenario.

In addition to these prosecutions, prosecutors will also be pursuing restitution from the parents or guardians of the juveniles in this group for the repeated violent offenses they are alleged to have committed, in addition to criminal liability.