ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - Two of the three suspects involved in the attempted carjackings in St. Louis Park and Edina last week were arrested Thursday, police say.
The suspects are currently being held in the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center awaiting charges. A third suspect is still at large.
Police say they believe that the same group of suspects were involved in all three recent incidents in the suburbs.
On Thursday, Dec. 9, two attempted carjackings were reported in Lunds and Byerlys parking lots in the west metro area.
The first attempted carjacking occurred around 3:15 p.m. at the Lunds & Byerlys parking lot along Park Center Boulevard in St. Louis Park.
FOX 9 crews were at the store working on a story when they witnessed three young men attempt to violently carjack a man in a Mercedes SUV. In a video from our photographer's GoPro, a suspect appears to have entered through the backseat and is seen swinging at the victim behind the driver's wheel with an object that looked like a gun or possibly a power drill. Our photographer yells and honks his horn and the suspects eventually run away.
The second attempted carjacking happened around 5 p.m., nearly two hours after the incident in St. Louis Park. Police were called to the Lunds & Byerlys on West 50th Street in Edina.
During that incident, police say four young men attempted to take an occupied car when the good Samaritans intervened. Three people were hurt during the robbery attempt, one seriously. All four suspects were also able to flee the area.
The third incident occurred on Nov. 29 at Bridgewater Bank on Excelsior Boulevard.
Police responded around 8 p.m. on Nov. 29 for the report of an attempted carjacking at the bank. Officers say it appears the suspect followed the man from the bank into the parking lot, implied he had a gun, and demanded the victim's keys as he approached his vehicle.
The man was able to run back into the building to safety and officers say the suspects fled in a black Dodge Durango.
Reward for information on third suspect at large
In collaboration with other metro area law enforcement agencies, the St. Louis Park and Edina police departments arrested suspects on Thursday.
The St. Louis Park Police Department and the Edina Crime Prevention Fund have both offered $5,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the third suspect in the attempted carjackings.
Anyone with information can call St. Louis Park police at 952-924-2618, Edina police’s non-emergency line at 952-826-1600, or Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 1-800-222-8477.
Southwest suburb officials form a joint coalition
News of the arrests come on the same day mayors, city managers and police chiefs from Edina, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Plymouth met to discuss the recent increase in property and vehicle-related crimes in the metro. On Friday, the coalition met in a closed meeting. A news release details one of the goals established by the group is "strengthening partnerships with law enforcement and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, with the goal of changing policies which have led to an increase in vehicle-related crimes in our cities."
A meeting attendee tells FOX 9 a policy many police chiefs in attendance want to examine is a 2020 decision by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to no longer request bail on certain low-level crimes, like theft under $35,000, motor vehicle theft and damage to property.
The Edina Police Department will host two forums on Monday that will explain what the city is doing to tackle crime and answer any questions residents may have.
Discussions of safety concerns
Edina Mayor Jim Hovland, in an email to residents, says "we need to be both on offense and defense," in response to recent crimes that include car thefts and a violent carjacking attempt in the Lunds and Byerly’s parking lot at 50th and France.
"At a time when we should be celebrating peace in our families, communities and places of worship, we all worry what each day will bring in the way of criminal activity," he wrote.
Last week, Edina residents gathered to hear from the city's mayor and police chief about concerns over increased crime in the city. Next Monday, Edina city officials will be holding two additional discussions on public safety, which will include a presentation from police chief Todd Milburn on crime trends and crime prevention tips.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office also said Tuesday it is working to ramp up prosecution of carjacking cases.