EXCLUSIVE: Local carjackings in Philly and New Jersey possibly linked to gang activity

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EXCLUSIVE: Local carjackings possibly linked to gang activity. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4pm on June 20, 2018. (WPVI)

What started as a probe into a few carjackings and robberies in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia has expanded into a full-blown investigation involving Philly police, Camden County police, the New Jersey attorney general's office, and the US attorney's office, just to name four.

Even now though, authorities say they are still not sure how big this alleged operation might be.

Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew says, "It's a significant number of cases. I know in Philadelphia we have at least a dozen cases that we are at least looking at and investigating on this end."

And sources close to the investigation say this could end up involving hundreds of cases in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

They also say it appears the thieves are targeting specific communities.

For example, Capt. Kinebrew says, "The areas of Philadelphia they seem to be concentrating on are Fishtown, Port Richmond, and that area. Our East Division. And I believe it's the same phenomenon in the other areas they are striking, Camden and the other cities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey."

Sources tell Action News the investigation could be linked to eight people who were arrested on unrelated charges in New Jersey. We are told those eight people - seven adults and a juvenile - have alleged ties to gang activity in south Jersey.

Investigators are even looking into the possibility that most of these cases are part of gang initiation efforts aimed at getting young recruits accustomed to criminal activity.

Authorities say they have made great progress, but the investigation is far from over.

Anyone with any further information about this investigation is asked to call Camden County Police or East Detectives in Philadelphia.

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