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South Omaha pregnant woman shares story on carjacking

By Josh Kristianto

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — A South Omaha woman who was carjacked this week at gunpoint tells KETV she is five months pregnant.

Omaha police arrested four teenagers on Thursday and say they carried out the crime. Officers booked the teens on robbery and use of a weapon charges. They are all 13 to 17 years old.

Police say the group carjacked the 27-year-old pregnant woman in a cul-de-sac at Spring Lake Park Wednesday afternoon. They say one of the teens shot a man in a separate vehicle as they were driving away.

The soon-to-be mother, Perla, says she thought it was a joke at first because the carjackers were so young.

Perla was just taking her dog out for a walk when a young man approached her and opened her passenger-side door pointing a gun. She did not want her face on camera, still recovering from the ordeal.

“They told me ‘give me your money. I know you have money, give me your money.’ And like you said, they’re just kids so I was like is this a joke, is this, what?” Perla said.

But it was no joke. Perla says the four carjackers took her keys and made a getaway. Police say they shot at another vehicle, striking the 32-year-old driver.

“I started crying. I was at the park with my dog, I just took him out because he wasn’t feeling well. I just wanted to go on a walk with him,” Perla said.

Omaha police eventually recovered Perla’s car in North Omaha along with another vehicle the suspects used in the carjacking. They say people commit this crime for a myriad of reasons: maybe it is on a dare, a challenge or for a joyride. It is much harder to sell a stolen vehicle or tear it down for scrap.

Police say to lessen the chance of a carjacking, you have to be aware of your surroundings.

“We always try to encourage people to look up while they’re walking to and from either a vehicle or into a business,” said Officer Chris Gordon, an Omaha police spokesperson.

If someone aggressively approaches you to take your car, your well-being should come first. Use good judgement and be smart. Do not try to fight back if the robber is armed with something dangerous.

It is also important to think like a witness: look for distinguishing features on the suspect and report the carjacking immediately to police.

“If you walk out with your head up, looking around, making contact at people, making eye contact, that tends to minimize you as a perceived victim,” Gordon said.

For Perla, the incident has left her shaken, but OK. She is looking forward to putting this behind her and being a mom.

“She’s my first baby so I just don’t want anything to happen to her,” Perla said.

Police also say it is best to park in well-seen areas, try to go in pairs to your car when possible and have your vehicle keys in hand ready to lock and unlock the doors quickly.

The 32-year-old driver who was shot, Jorge Garcia, was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries, but authorities say those injuries are non-life-threatening.

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