A man has been charged with carjacking two people at gunpoint on Wednesday after they met through an online marketplace, Montgomery County police said.
Markeith Dwayne Jones, 20, of Washington, D.C., met the victims after they placed their 2008 BMW 335i for sale on Facebook Marketplace, police said in a press release on Thursday.
Jones and the victims agreed on a price and told each other they would meet in a shopping center in Wheaton, police said.
When they met Jones around 10:23 p.m. on Wednesday, he asked questions about the BMW and inspected it.
After Jones asked the sellers to turn on the car, he pointed a gun at them and ordered them to move away, police said. Jones drove away in the BMW.
Officers from the 3rd District Special Assignment Team found the stolen vehicle in Silver Spring as Jones was heading toward D.C., police said. Montgomery County police called for backup from D.C. police.
D.C. police officers arrested Jones following a chase, police said. They found a handgun that he threw in a trash can.
Jones has been charged by a warrant with the carjacking and is in D.C. police custody on firearms charges, police said. Maryland court records for Jones were not available as of Thursday evening.
Montgomery County and the greater Washington region have experienced a sharp increase in carjackings in recent months. The uptick prompted multiple law enforcement agencies and states attorneys to announce the formation of a regional task force dedicated to reducing carjackings last month in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Police also investigated a separate carjacking in Gaithersburg on Wednesday. The driver of a Lexus SUV was injured after jumping on the hood, then falling off, as a carjacker drove off with it.
Montgomery County police encourage anyone completing an online transaction to meet in exchange zones, which are in each of the county’s six district police station lobbies and parking lots.
Police recommend that buyers and sellers meet in an exchange zone that is well lit and populated. They also recommend bringing a friend or relative.
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