Two teenagers are in custody following a string of alleged violent acts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire this week including the attempted robbery of an off-duty police officer, authorities said.
The first of the incidents took place Wednesday night on Lowell Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where an attempted carjacking occurred around 7:20 p.m., according to police.
Two hours later, police say a group of teenagers pistol-whipped a pizza delivery driver before robbing his phone, money and Honda Accord.
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Then, just before 11 p.m., police say a group of teens demanded a man's keys outside a North Andover apartment complex, then took off in his Toyota Sedan.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, police confirm an off-duty officer was the victim of an attempted carjacking. Officials tell NBC10 Boston the officer fought off the teenagers and stopped them from taking her vehicle. They allegedly managed to rob some of her personal belongings.
Methuen Police say there has been a rise in violence among gangs, specifically among juveniles.
"About a month to six weeks ago, we've been seeing a real uptick in juvenile crime. These are serious crimes. Carjackings are no joke. Especially when you're pistol-whipping people, putting guns on them. It appears there's some type of initiation, maybe. Seeing some type of initiation process. Because they were involved, following each other in the stolen vehicles once they carjacked them," said Methuen Police officer Kristopher McCarthy.
The Methuen Police Department has assembled a nine-member gang task force within the last week.