Residents put on alert after 2 reported carjackings in days in University Place

Residents put on alert after 2 reported carjackings in days in University Place
(City of University Place)

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — Residents have been put on notice after police say there were two reported carjackings in less than a week in University Place.

The first carjacking was reported at 8:20 p.m. Monday by a woman who called 911 and said she was sitting in a car at a Safeway on Bridgeport Way.

According to officials, the woman was sitting in the passenger seat of her friend’s SUV, while the friend was inside the store shopping.

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She reported that the man opened the driver’s side door and ordered her to get out, officials said. He reportedly was holding one of his hands inside his pocket.

According to officials, the victim reported that a woman grabbed her as she was getting out of the car and then jumped into the passenger seat.

Both fled in the vehicle, which was later found following a hit-and-run on Ainsworth Avenue in Tacoma, law enforcement officials said.

Officials said the victim described the first suspect as a black man in his 20s, with a medium build and approximately 5 feet, 7 inches tall. The woman was described as black, in her 20s with a heavy build and long dark curly hair and approximately 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

On Thursday at 7:30 p.m., another woman called 911 to report being carjacked by a man, law enforcement said.

Officials said the victim told deputies she was parallel parking along Market Place West when a man opened her door and ordered her to get out.

When the victim reached for her purse, the man threatened to shoot her although the victim did not see a gun, police said. She reported that the man had one hand in his sweatshirt pocket, possibly implying he had a weapon.

Police said the man -- who was described as black, in his 20s and approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a medium build -- fled in the victim’s silver 2013 Subaru Outback, which has not been found.

The woman told deputies she had seen the man walking along the road with another person just before she was carjacked, officials said.

Police said they are working to find out if the carjackings are related to an armed robbery that happened Monday at the Panagiotu Pension Advisors Building on Cirque Drive West.

A woman reported being robbed at gunpoint at 7:48 a.m. by a man wearing a mask and a black hooded sweatshirt, according to police.

Law enforcement officials said she was followed into the building and was ordered to give up her purse. She struggled with the suspect and screamed for help and that’s when the man fled on foot.

Police used a K-9 to track the man but he was not found, officials said.