‘We really didn’t hook them up’: 911 call reveals how 2 shackled teens escaped police custody

HARRISBURG, N.C. — Two young detainees have been caught after allegedly breaking out of a transport van and carjacking an SUV Thursday, investigators said.

It started around 1 p.m. when the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office was called to Highway 49 North near Roberta Road in Harrisburg. At about 6:30 p.m., the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced that the two suspects had been taken into custody in west Charlotte.

The sheriff’s office learned the Department of Public Safety had been driving two juveniles from the Mecklenburg County Courthouse to the Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center when, during the transport, one of the detainees was able to get the door of the vehicle open.

Both juveniles escaped, running toward the nearby Lowes Food gas pumps, deputies said. There, they forced someone out of her SUV, stole it, and drove off.

It’s not clear if the woman was hurt.

Authorities said they had the identities of the juveniles and at first, were looking for the stolen SUV. They said it was a gray 2019 Toyota RAV4.

Just before 4:30 p.m., deputies said the SUV was found at an apartment complex on Hunting Ridge Lane, off Idlewild Road in east Charlotte. No one was in the vehicle when it was found, authorities said. It was about 15 minutes away from where the carjacking happened.

In a news release, the Department of Juvenile Justice said they were worried for the safety of the public “due to the assaultive behavior allegedly exhibited by the juvenile[s] during the escape and/or a prior history of unpredictable behavior.”

It appears the suspects already posted a video on Instagram that shows them in shackles.

In the video, the two appear to taunt Cabarrus County deputies while still in shackles around their ankles and their waists.

It’s not clear what the two juveniles were charged with to be taken to the development center.

CMPD said the two juveniles were arrested after they “collided with a CMPD patrol car” on Brookshire Boulevard near Beatties Ford Road.

911 call

Channel 9 obtained a recording of the 911 call made after the carjacking.

“They carjacked this lady but by the time we got stopped and all, they had jumped their car and took off,” the caller said. “They’ve shoved her down. She was trying to defend her car and she’s on her feet, I know she is really shook up bad.”

“They didn’t care about her welfare at all,” the caller added.

“She’s very, very shaken up. I feel helpless,” he said.

“A young lady was just carjacked. And the perps were the two young men that were our juvenile inmates. We were returning to Cabarrus they busted out -- they were able to bust out of a van,” he said.

How they escaped

More details in the 911 call reveal how the handcuffed teens were able to bust out the door of a transport van.

A transport officer in the van admitted to dispatchers that he didn’t secure their shackles.

“We really didn’t hook them back up. They brought them down from court while in restraint so we didn’t really deal with them,” the officer said. “They got them in the van, didn’t know they were going to, yeah.”

The teens kicked open the side doors of the transport van and escaped.

Channel 9′s Almiya White asked the N.C. Department of Public Safety if officers should have done more to restrain them. The state gave her this statement:

“A staff member must apply chain style handcuffs, waist chain, and leg restraints to each juvenile being transported. But staff are not allowed to attach mechanical restraints to any interior or exterior part of the vehicle. If a juvenile does escape, staff should make an effort to re-secure the juvenile.”

Channel 9 asked DPS if they plan to change their transportation policy after the incident. They said they couldn’t answer that for safety reasons. They also wouldn’t say which facility the teens have been taken to since their re-arrest.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Two juveniles charged in string of Dollar General armed robberies)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV