The most recent incidents started early Wednesday at around 2:35 a.m., when officers found a cabdriver suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the 9000 block of Ballard Lane in Clinton, police said. The driver, who was in the area to pick up a customer, was approached by two people who demanded cash and then shot him, police said. About two hours later, a cabdriver who also was picking up a customer was carjacked by two men, police said.
Within 24-hours, police announced they had arrested two teens in connection with both robberies: Malik Samuels, 17 of Upper Marlboro and Robert Walker, 17, of Greenbelt. They have been charged with attempted murder and related charges.
The drivers "were definitely set up," Prince George's police Capt. Joseph Ghattaf said of the cabbies who allegedly were called by the teens posing as customers. "The areas they were brought to were secluded."
The cabdriver who was shot remains in the hospital in stable, but critical condition.
Police said three other teenagers from Beltsville were arrested in connection with a separate set of robberies targeting cabdrivers between Jan. 15 and Jan. 22: Jose Ponce-Coreas, 19; Demonte Johnson, 16, and Christian Tejada, 18. All three admitted they were involved in the cases, according to police, who said the teens would order a taxi and then rob or attempt to rob drivers at knifepoint once they got to their destinations.
In a Jan. 15 incident, Ponce-Coreas and Johnson carjacked a driver in the 1800 block of Metzerott Road, police said. On Jan. 19, Ponce-Coreas is suspected of robbing a driver and unsuccessfully attempting to take her vehicle. And on Jan. 22, in the 1800 block of Metzerott Road, Tejada and Johnson attempted to rob a taxi driver, according to police.
None of the drivers was injured and the suspects got away with at most a small amount of cash or nothing at all, police said.
Tejada has been charged with robbery and assault charges. Ponce-Coreas has been charged with carjacking and assault. Johnson has been charged with carjacking, robbery, theft and assault.
Lt. Patrick Hampson of Prince George's County police said detectives were in constant contact with cab companies as soon as the string of robberies began, which helped in making arrests.
"On Saturday, the cab company got a request for a cab that matched the criteria [of previous robberies] and reached out to us ahead of time," Hampson said.
The call allowed police to intervene and apprehend the suspects, Hampson said.
Hampson said the string of robberies targeting cabdrivers this month was a coincidence and doesn't occur often.
"If you commit a robbery in our community, whether of a cabdriver or a citizen, we will work around the clock until we apprehend you," Hampson said.