ATLANTA - Investigators believe the early morning carjacking of a ride-sharing driver in Atlanta could be related to the carjackings of two Morehouse College students, Atlanta Police said Wednesday.
At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee told reporters the three crimes happened within a mile of each other.
In the latest crime, the victim said four men threatened him with a crowbar and put a gun in his face after pulling up in a maroon sedan on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.
The driver told officers he handed over his wallet and the keys to his white Hyundai Elantra. The men then took off in their car as well as the victim's vehicle.
The victim was not hurt in the incident.
Chafee told reporters Atlanta Police have responded by assigning more resources in the area, including unmarked cars and plain clothed officers, to watch for suspicious activity.
Chafee advised motorists in the area to be aware of their surroundings, especially late at night.
He added if someone you don’t know approaches your car, you should drive away safely if you can and explain to officers later what you were doing.
The Wednesday crime took place the day after the second Morehouse College student was carjacked in less than a week.
Morehouse student Deaven Rector said he was studying for midterms at the library until the early morning hours Tuesday before the carjacking took place.
Rector says he parked at his apartment at 955 Founders Drive in the College Town apartments when a tall, slim man with dreadlocks, chains, a gold grill and a face he’ll never forget approached him soliciting drugs.
Rector says he declined and that’s when the man pulled out a gun and told him to get out and empty his pockets.
“I am shocked still at the moment. Having a gun pointed to your face, having someone say get out the car before I shoot you is…literally the worst thing you can hear, especially at 5’clock in the morning, getting ready for a midterm in 4 hours,” Rector told FOX 5.
In the first incident, Morehouse student Justin Clark was carjacked just hours before he was set to drive home for a funeral made it back in time for the service.
According to Atlanta Police, Clark, 20, had just returned to his off-campus apartment a little after 4 a.m. on Thursday, September 27th, when a dark sedan pulled up behind him.
Two armed men jumped out of the car and demanded Clark's wallet, cell phone, and car keys while two others stayed in the vehicle.
Clark, a political science major, said he had been studying for his midterms at the school's library and had made a stop for fast food before heading home. Investigators said he ran to a nearby Morehouse guard shack to report the crime.
Clark said, "I just say my prayers and thank God for allowing me to live another day."
After the original reports of the carjacking, a private donor from Michigan, Dr. Victoria Dooley, whose father attended Morehouse purchased a plane ticket for Clark so he could attend the funeral in Louisiana.
Atlanta Police said at the time, place and suspect description of the two crimes against Morehouse students are nearly identical.
Morehouse College issued a statement Tuesday that said in part, “We care about the safety of our students and are thankful that no one has been injured in these southwest Atlanta neighborhood incidents. We have asked Atlanta Police to increase community surveillance and patrols in the area.”
The statement added, “We will remain vigilant during this investigation and keep in close contact with the APD until these suspects are apprehended.”