18-year-old is arrested in weekend carjackings

A suspect in two weekend carjackings was caught by police Monday after he crashed his stolen vehicle into a parked car and a house.

Matthew Terence Roberts, 18, of the 3000 block of Pinnacle Place Drive in Hephzibah, is charged with two felony counts each of hijacking a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

He also is charged with fleeing and attempting to elude, reckless driving and hit and run.

Richmond County Investigator Paul Godden spotted a Dodge Charger while patrolling an area near Morgan and Tobacco roads Monday afternoon that matched the description of a vehicle stolen in a carjacking in Hephzibah, said Lt. Scott Peebles.

He said deputies watched the car, which was parked in what appeared to be an abandoned home's driveway for almost four hours before the suspect returned at about 7:15 p.m. and quickly left the scene.

"We set up a team with surveillance and we waited to see who was going to come back to the car," Lt. Peebles said. "From the beginning we decided to wait on them to come back."

Police gave chase and were led to Crest Drive. It was then Mr. Roberts jumped out of the moving vehicle, which crashed into a parked car. The vehicle bounced off the car and rolled down a nearby hill and into the corner of a house. The owner of the house was inside at the time, but was not injured, Lt. Peebles said. Mr. Roberts suffered minor injuries.

The first carjacking occurred early Saturday morning as a woman pulled into her driveway in the 2000 block of Chaucer Court near Augusta West Parkway, sheriff's reports show. The victim told police three men in a black vehicle followed her from Wheeler Road to her home, then one of them pointed a handgun at her and stole her black BMW. The second carjacking occurred Sunday while the owner was sitting in his Dodge Charger at a home in the 4000 block of Creekview Drive in Hephzibah.

Lt. Peebles said the BMW was recovered from behind a home in Hephzibah on Saturday evening, but the keys were missing. It wasn't until they arrested Mr. Roberts that the keys were found, he said.

"The beautiful thing about it was when he was taken into custody he had the key from another carjacked car in his pocket," Lt. Peebles said.

Investigators believe at least one other person could have been involved in the robberies but they have no suspects at this time.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.