ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We were afraid that the chaos caused by the rash of stolen cars would reach a critical level.
Tuesday, it did.
An 18-year-old was found shot inside a stolen Hyundai after it crashed on Laser Street. He died at Strong Memorial Hospital while doctors and nurses tried to save his life.
“It’s just a revolving door you got the same kids getting caught in stolen cars, sometimes twice in a day,” said Capt. Frank Umbrino.
Umbrino is the head of major crimes at the Rochester Police Department. He was careful not to say the 18-year-old was shot because he was in a stolen car, but he was critical of the system that forces police to ticket teenagers caught in stolen cars and then let them go.
“So you need to hold the parents accountable. The criminal justice system, family court, they need to wake up and they need to start doing something so we’re not sitting here at 6 o’clock in the morning with dead 17- and 18-year-old kids in stolen cars,” he said.
The problem of stolen cars is everywhere.
Rochelle Bryant took me into the parking lot of her mother’s apartment tower. Her mother’s Hyundai was stolen from here last week.
“Yep, this is the parking lot they’re getting into. And her car was parked right here,” she said as we drove through the parking lot.
The location is Seneca Towers on St. Paul Street. It’s a senior-living apartment complex. The parking lot is fenced but Bryant says the gates are open and unlocked.
“And see how there’s nothing right there,” she said, pointing to an open gate.
The RPD crime map shows 12 cars have been stolen from Seneca Towers since February.
“She has no way to get around,” Bryant said of her mother. “She didn’t have a car because she wanted a car. She had a car because she needed a car.”
I met Bryant shortly after we learned about the 18-year-old shot killed in a stolen car.
Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “What do you think?”
Rochelle Bryant, whose mother’s car was stolen: “I’m worried for the kids that are doing it. I’m worried for the kids it’s impacting. It’s hurting people. It’s hurting everyone. It’s not just, you’re stealing a car. You’re impacting entire families.”
I called the owner of Seneca Towers at noon Tuesday. They have not responded.
Bryant says the gate to the parking lot was repaired the day after her mother’s car was stolen.
The open gates in the fence lead to the sidewalk and a bus stop.
Whomever took her mother’s car took everything out of it except for one thing.
They left her Bible.