PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - Three suspects are on the loose and a 14-year-old is in custody after investigators say the group went on a violent crime spree throughout Pierce County.
Sergeant Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department reports a teenager and three other young accomplices are responsible for two armed robberies and at least two stolen cars.
The crime spree happened on Thursday.
Moss said, first, the young criminals stole a KIA in Federal Way, then they stole another KIA in a Walmart parking lot in South Hill several hours later.
Moss reported the suspects then robbed a man at gunpoint.
"He believes that the suspect followed him home where they robbed him for his wallet and cell phone," said Moss.
At least three of the suspects are connected to another armed robbery in Puyallup, investigators said.
"As of last night, we did have the 14-year-old suspect, in the white KIA, in our custody," said Moss.
Investigators say they were able to locate the teenage suspect through the phone he stole. Moss said deputies tracked him back to the Walmart parking lot in South Hill.
The teen still tried to escape from deputies, speeding away in the stolen car, driving into oncoming traffic, and even causing a crash, said Moss.
"Our deputies were, thankfully, able to use a pit maneuver to stop this vehicle," he said.
According to recent numbers from the auto theft task force, stolen cars jumped by 16% from August to September, with 80 more cars stolen in the latter month.
Moss said one of the biggest concerns is the people who are committing these crimes.
"It’s this younger crowd that really has no care for other people. They’re not concerned about hurting people, about damaging property. They take whatever they want," he said.
FOX 13 News got numbers from the prosecutor’s office that show violent crimes committed by kids are up.
With three months left in the year, the dozens of cases where kids are charged with robberies, stealing cars, and running from police is higher than the same crime statistics in all of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
"They think they can get away with these things, but unfortunately, when they commit an armed robbery, or they shoot or hurt someone, they have to face more serious penalties," said Moss.
Three of the suspects connected to the crime spree in Pierce County are still on the loose.
Dispatch reported them as possibly in their 20s, but investigators now believe they are younger. Anyone with information is asked to contact Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.