Chattanooga teens carjack truck, go on crime gun-wielding spree
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Six teenagers could do time for a crime spree in Chattanooga.
Police say a homeowner in the Hurricane Creek community caught the teens burglarizing their home.
They carjacked the homeowner, then robbed three other people at gunpoint across town.
All the suspects in the case are young men. One is 16, five of them 17-year-olds and the oldest, an 18-year-old.
Folks Channel 3 talked with are glad they were caught before they did more harm.
The crime spree for 18-year-old Mark Lee and his buddies started at a house in Hurricane Creek Estates around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon.
"They were going to burglarize a residence in Hurricane Creek, and that's when the owner stumbled upon them," says Nathan Hartwig with Chattanooga police.
The teens held the homeowner at gunpoint, demanding the keys to a Chevy truck. They hopped in and took off, picking up a few more friends along the way.
Their first stop was in the 900 block of Airport Road, where they robbed a person at gunpoint at around 11 p.m. From there, they traveled across town to Hidden Creek Apartments off East Brainerd Road, where they struck again, robbing someone else at gunpoint.
"That's really scary," says a woman, who lives in the complex.
For people living in the complex, it is surprising news to hear, saying they had not heard anything about it.
"Generally, I consider this place a pretty safe place to live," says Thad Myers.
Myers and his girlfriend say it is especially surprising to hear all the suspects were 16, 17 and 18-years-old.
"Maybe they feel they can get away with it while they're young because of society don't apply to them because they're children?"
The teens' joyride was not over at Hidden Creek. Around midnight, they drove the truck down the road to Meridian at Hamilton Place, pulling their gun on yet another innocent victim.
"It's disappointing. I think they just need some more parental guidance in their life," says Christina High.
High has lived in the complex for a year a half and says they have had trouble with crime before. She is always keeping a close eye out for trouble.
"We're very safe. My husband tries to be very safe. We make sure that we lock our doors and keep our stuff locked up."
Thirty minutes after leaving Meridian, a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy spotted the stolen truck off Standifer Gap. The teens bailed but deputies, police, and troopers rounded them up.
"We're very that we were able to get these suspects off the streets so no one was hurt," says Hartwig.
Because the teens used a gun, each face three counts of aggravated robbery.
Mark Lee, the eldest of the bunch, is being held on a $30,000 bond at the Hamilton County Jail. He is due in court next month.