The ongoing police effort to bring an end to the Twin Cities' carjacking wave has netted a suspect: a teenage boy.
On Friday, the St. Paul Police Department announced the arrest of the 15-year-old, who they say "may be responsible for multiple carjackings and robberies (across) the metro."
According to a news release, the teen — "who's been arrested more than 20 times" — held up a 21-year-old woman getting out of her car with her groceries on Thursday night, but he ultimately fled the scene because "the would-be victim didn't have any money on her."
After seeing the suspect get into a black sedan and drive off, the woman notified police, who in turn reviewed surveillance footage from the area and saw the suspect's vehicle following a white Audi "west across the Ford Parkway bridge into Minneapolis."
The release says the suspect then rear-ended the Audi, assaulted its driver and drove off with the car.
Police were able to track him down the next day, but when they attempted a traffic stop on the Audi, the suspect fled and led police on a pursuit.
"With the Minneapolis police behind him and the State Patrol's helicopter above," officials say, "the juvenile crossed back into Saint Paul and wound up on the East Side, where he dumped the car on the 100 block of Bates."
A K9 unit ultimately tracked the teen down, and he surrendered to authorities without further incident. He's currently in custody.
The arrest was conducted as part of Operation Intercept, a joint effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies. It's aimed at cracking down on a dramatic spike in carjacking incidents across the metro.
Minneapolis, St. Paul and numerous other cities across the U.S. are reporting a rise in such crimes amid a wider spike in criminal activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC News reported that one possible reason carjackings have increased is the anonymity provided by face masks, while a rise in carjackings involving youths nationwide has come amid widespread school closures due to the pandemic.
In Minneapolis alone, it was reported in December that carjackings had risen 537% compared to the year before.