Feb 23, 2022 - News

Philadelphia police arrest alleged carjacking "ringleader"

Data: Philadelphia Police Department; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Police have arrested a man they allege is the "ringleader" of a Philadelphia carjacking operation that's linked to two deaths.

Why it matters: Carjackings have recently skyrocketed in Philadelphia, and "several carjacking rings" are operating in the city, Police Captain Jason Smith said.

Driving the news: Smith announced the arrest of 28-year-old Jonathan Akubu during a Tuesday news conference with local and federal law enforcement agencies.

  • Akubu, of Drexel Hill, has been charged with two counts of murder, as well as counts of carjacking, conspiracy, robbery and several other offenses, said Joanne Pescatore, chief of the homicide unit for the Philly District Attorney's Office.
  • He's also under investigation for carjackings in King of Prussia and Millbourne, police said.

By the numbers: A total of 203 carjackings have been reported in Philadelphia so far in 2022, up from 78 at this time last year and 34 in 2020, according to police.

Details: Smith alleges that Akubu is the leader of a carjacking ring involving "loosely knitted groups" of teenagers and 20-year-olds, who appeared to target Toyota RAV-4s and Highlanders.

  • Police have specifically linked Akubu to at least three carjackings earlier this month, two of which were fatal, Smith said.
  • Officers recovered an AK-47-style rifle and a handgun when Akubu was arrested.

What they're saying: Smith said the arrest is expected to help decrease the number of carjackings in the city.

  • The investigation into Akubu and his conspirators remains ongoing, he added.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Kenney reiterated his calls for firearms controls at the state level Tuesday.

  • "Look at what our people are up against. Our officers are equipped with Glocks, generally, and body armor," Kenney said at the press conference. "Some of these guys are running around with AK-47s, AR-15s and multi-shot clips."

Of note: An attorney wasn't listed for Akubu as of Tuesday evening.


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