But by the time details of the alleged Tuesday evening carjacking spree were sorted out, police were left with an uncooperative witness and four suspects in two suspected robberies who had to be let go.
"(Officers) had nobody who can ID these guys," said Capt. Phil Trent, South Bend Police Department spokesman. "They had a vehicle description and they were showed the documents of a pickup truck, but (the witness) couldn’t make an ID."
The episode began at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when police radio reports called out a carjacking of a blue Chevrolet S-10 truck at the corner of Johnson and Keller streets.
At about the same time, police reported that a silver Chevrolet Z-24 was carjacked 25 minutes earlier — until an officer got on the radio and said "there was no proof" to link the cases.
Back at the scene of the alleged Chevy S-10 carjacking, witnesses said they saw one of the suspects walking down Johnson Street with a gun, according to Trent.
A short while later, patrol units in the area stopped a blue Chevy S-10 pickup truck carrying four suspects who matched the description responding officers were given by the victim.
Police conducted a background check of the truck from documents produced by the driver. The truck turned out to be registered to a family member — although to which suspect was not clear.
"It was somebody’s brother’s father," Trent said.
According to an officer at the scene, police called the victim to come and identify the suspects on the spot, but the victim "... got scared and didn’t want to ID" the suspects, the officer said.
Police also tried calling the other victim to come and point the suspects out, "but we couldn’t get hold" of that victim, an officer said.
"So," the officer added, "we had to let (the suspects) go."
Before the release, officers got the suspects’ names and contact information, Trent noted.
What began as a report of a carjacking spree ended with little more than a case report police were left to sort out at the end of the night.
Although there was no actual loss reported, "It’s listed," Trent said "as a robbery."
Staff writer Jeff Harrell: