Lyft driver is 3rd victim in rash of carjackings near Morehouse College

For the third time in six days, Atlanta police are investigating a carjacking near the Atlanta University Center in southwest Atlanta.

A Lyft driver was robbed of his wallet and car keys after he dropped off a passenger at the Ashley Collegetown apartments on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard early Wednesday morning.

IN-DEPTH: Atlanta carjackings down this year, but latest 3 concern police

Police had increased patrols in the area after two Morehouse College students were carjacked when they returned home from late-night study sessions at the school library, the first on Thursday and the second on Tuesday.

MORE: Second Morehouse College student carjacked after leaving campus library

All three incidents happened off campus and within a mile of each other in the College Town neighborhood, west of the AUC.

An Atlanta police officer was on patrol just two blocks away when Lyft driver Imani Dawson was robbed.

Dawson told police he parked along Cunningham Place and stepped out of his car to smoke a cigarette about 2:30 a.m. when a burgundy sedan pulled up beside him and three men jumped out. One had a gun and another had a crowbar, Dawson told Channel 2.

He said he thought about fighting back.

“Dude had that gun so close to my face, I just didn’t want to get shot,” Dawson said.

They took his belongings before taking off in his car.

The incident was similar to Justin Clark’s account of a carjacking outside his Westview Drive apartments on Thursday. The 20-year-old political science major told police he was ambushed by two men when he returned from a fast food run at 4 a.m. after studying at the library.

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Clark said he thought two more men remained in the car while the others demanded his cellphone, keys and his wallet.

Deaven Rector, a 19-year-old student who was carjacked Tuesday morning, said one man approached him in the parking deck of his Founders Drive apartment complex and demanded his car at gunpoint. He described the robber as a tall, thin black man with gold-tipped dreadlocks and gold teeth, wearing a gold chain.

Deaven Rector said he thinks he was the target of a Tuesday morning carjacking in southwest Atlanta because he is a Morehouse College student.


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Rector’s car was found after he tracked it to an apartment complex down the street. Clark’s vehicle was also recovered several days after it was stolen.

“There are some similarities with each case,” Atlanta police Sgt. John Chafee said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not enough for us to confirm at this point that they are all related, but we are certainly looking at that possibility.”

After Wednesday morning’s incident, Chafee said the police department will be adding more resources to the neighborhood, including tactical teams and undercover officers.

“This is something that is very important to us,” he said. “These acts are unacceptable and we’re going to do everything we can to get these people off our streets.”

The carjackings are complicating an already stressful midterm week for students and setting many on edge.

“Some of our students are spending late hours in the AUC’s Robert W. Woodruff library as they study for midterm exams,” Morehouse College spokeswoman Aileen Dodd said in a statement. “We caution them to be aware of their surroundings and to call the APD if they see anything suspicious as they walk to their cars and drive home to their apartment buildings.”

She said the college cares about the safety of their students and is thankful no one has been injured. They are working with detectives in the investigations and will also increase Morehouse College police patrols along the boundaries of campus.

Rector told he wants his fellow classmates to stay safe.

“It’s a college area, but it’s still a major city at the end of the day,” he said. “Be careful, you guys.”