“He may have shot me, I may have died:” Carjacking victim, MPD hopeful for more arrests

Investigators say there is more work to be done in a carjacking case.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 7:02 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 7:22 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Police say a suspect extensively involved in a string a westside carjackings is in custody, and a warrant has been requested for another. But detectives and victims alike are hopeful for more.

Manisha, whose last name we are omitting for her safety, is a victim of one of these carjackings earlier this fall. She has lived with her family in the quiet westside neighborhood south of McKee Rd. and west of Maple Grove Dr. for six years, and has never experienced the type of violent crime that occurred just steps outside her front door.

“I was returning back from work... and the car came behind me and stopped beside me,” Manisha recalls. It was around 2 a.m. and she was parked outside of her house. “He opened my door and was like ‘I’m gonna shoot you, I’m gonna shoot you.’”

Manisha says she was stunned, sitting in her car as the man yelled at her to get out. She says he pulled her from the car, hopped in and drove off.

“Then I started to scream too loudly,” she said. “I think about ‘he may have shot me, I may have died.’”

Two days later, Manisha’s car was located and returned to her by Madison Police. But the damage was already done -- to her car’s fender, which is still smashed -- and to her sense of safety.

“It was a safe neighborhood until the accident happened,” she said. “Now I am scared.” She says even when her husband opens the car door to put groceries inside after shopping trip she gets frightened. “I have the thinking of maybe somebody is opening the door. I get scared.”

Her case is among the spree of carjackings that took place in this neighborhood between August and October, many of which are still under investigation. Detective Denise Armstrong and Lt. Detective Greg Esser from MPD’s west district are leading the cases. They say the investigation has taken a long time and has been a drain on MPD resources.

“As we continued to investigate and work with agencies outside of Madison, outside of Dane County, we began to find that there were numerous crimes committed by the same group of individuals,” Armstrong said.

Investigators believe the group is comprised mostly of juveniles, who enjoy driving around and committing crimes in addition to the carjackings.

“Carjackings are very violent, cause tremendous amount of stress in the community and it was priority #1 for us at MPD.” said Esser.

MPD confirmed the 16-year-old in custody and the teen they’ve requested a warrant for are the two people who targeted Manisha.

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