U.S. Attorney: Death penalty could be in play for carjacking - WNEM TV 5

U.S. Attorney warns death penalty could be in play for those charged with carjacking

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Two billboards in Flint are keeping the threat of time behind bars fresh in the minds of criminals.

They read "Carjacking is a federal crime with long prison terms."

"Oh, it could happen to anybody," said Flint Township resident Carol Prim.

Since 2012, Michigan State Police statistics show 33 carjackings in Genesee County alone.

"You could be coming out of a store, sitting at a red light, and the next thing you know your door is getting ripped open and you're getting ripped out, or somebody's putting a gun in your face," said Tpr. Justin Vroman of the Michigan State Police Flint Post.

And to combat that terrible scenario, the U.S. Attorney's Office reminded criminals the muscle they have in court.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade warned those who commit the crime could spend decades in prison or even face the death penalty.

"They need to make sure that people can't just think they're going to get a slap on the wrist, and that jails are overcrowded and they'll get away with it," said Prim. "It's a serious crime."

Prim lives just down the road from a deadly carjacking that happened at a Flint Township gas station two years ago. A 55-year old Grand Blanc woman was shot and killed, and her vehicle stolen.

Three people were sentenced to life in prison for the crime.

Prim said the fear of a carjacking happening is real and Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor John Potbury said that's why his office works close with the feds.

"It puts a terrible risk in our community, a state of fear within our citizens, and we'll use whatever tool we can to crack down on it," said Potbury.

Crimestoppers of Michigan funded the billboards that are up in Flint and Detroit.

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