Armed carjackers busted when they get stuck in Gold Coast traffic jam, prosecutors say

Two men who carjacked a driver on the Southwest Side were arrested less than two hours later after they got stuck in a traffic jam on Lake Shore Drive while police were on their tail, prosecutors said. Cops arrested Carlos Carlin, 18, and Joshua Saldana, 20, after they drove the allegedly hijacked Nissan Altima into bumper-to-bumper traffic near Oak Street Beach.

Assistant State’s Attorney Darryl Auguste said a 28-year-old man was sitting in his car on the 8100 block of South Pulaski around 12:25 p.m. Sunday when Carlin pointed a gun at him and ordered him to get out of the vehicle. The man complied. Saldana got behind the steering wheel while Carlin jumped into the passenger seat, and they sped away, Auguste said.

Joshua Saldana (top), Carlos Carlin, and the allegedly carjacked vehicle sitting in traffic. | CPD

Just over an hour later, a CPD license plate reader detected the stolen Altima driving southbound on the 4100 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Uptown. Cops from the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) Police District moved in and began following the car on the drive a few minutes later.

But the joyride reached an abrupt end when the Altima became bogged down in a traffic jam on the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive, and the cops moved in with guns drawn, according to information Auguste shared in a bond court hearing Tuesday.

As Saldana and Carlin stepped out of the car, officers allegedly saw a loaded handgun lying on the passenger-side floorboard. The two men matched descriptions of the carjackers that the victim provided, Auguste said. In addition, surveillance video of the carjacking shows the offenders were wearing the same clothes that Saldana and Carlin were wearing, according to Auguste.

Prosecutors charged each man with felony aggravated vehicular hijacking with a weapon. Carlin is also charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon.

A public defender who represented the men during Tuesday’s bond hearing said neither of them had been arrested before. She also questioned whether the clothing they were wearing actually matched the clothes the carjackers wore.

But Judge Susana Ortiz was not swayed by that argument and she granted Auguste’s request to hold both men without bail. They are due back in court next Wednesday.

A juvenile who was in the Altima’s back seat was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicle, Auguste said.

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