Carjackings up so far this year, victim urges others to stay alert

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Right outside a motel on Elvis Presley Boulevard, a man told police he was held at gunpoint while a stranger jumped into his car and drove away.

And just hours later Wednesday morning, another man told police he was carjacked outside a store on Park Avenue. This time the suspect hit him in the head.

Add that to the statistics WREG uncovered: The Memphis Police Department reports 121 carjackings so far this year, compared to 114 this time last year.

But this is more than numbers; the victims are grandmothers, fathers, mothers, good Samaritans.

"I was at a gas station yesterday and a guy approached me for money. I had to remind myself he was not the guy that victimized me that last time," said Pastor Ricky Floyd, who was carjacked at a South Memphis gas station while he pumped air into his tire.

"I was a victim, but I almost feel like I positioned myself to be a victim. That's one thing I tell people: You've got to be alert," he said.

"The biggest mistake people are making is not being aware of their surroundings," said Shelby County Lt. Kenneth Roberson.

He says carjackers are alert, waiting for that right opportunity.

"I was looking over some stuff before I came over here, and people were making themselves victims just by, you know, staying on their cellphone, not pay attention to their surroundings."

His best advice is to put your phone down, stay on guard and don't be afraid to call police.