Westport police still looking for at least 2 more suspects in violent carjacking
Westport police said they're continuing to try to track down at least two more suspects in a violent carjacking that was caught on video and went viral.
The incident happened in a man's own garage in the middle of the day on Sept. 17. Two days later, police arrested Giovanni Lopez, 16, of Waterbury, who's now being charged as an adult. In security camera footage of the crime, Lopez is allegedly the suspect on the right beating up the victim.
Lt. Eric Woods told News 12 investigators are still looking to arrest the other suspect in the video and at least one more person who police believe was driving a stolen BMW that the suspects arrived in. Police are also working to connect a Berlin man to the crime after finding the Aston Martin at his home. Derrick McGill, 39, was arrested for allegedly running a chop shop. Police said along with the Aston Martin, there were three other stolen luxury cars there.
"I don't believe the statements he's made in the press that we have this wrong, and these cars just showed up in his driveway, and he just works on cars. No, I believe he's directly involved in this," Woods said.
According to Lopez's arrest warrant, an anonymous tip led police to Berlin. The caller said her son saw the stolen Aston Martin turn onto Orchard Road and pull into a "tan stucco home with a pond in the back." She also said her son told her the driver was wearing a ski mask, the warrant said.
"The investigation in Berlin ultimately ended with the arrest of Derrick McGill, and then the investigation into Derrick McGill led us to Waterbury and to Giovanni Lopez," Woods explained. "Without saying exactly what that evidence is, we can all assume that in today's day and age, cellphones and digital evidence is helpful for law enforcement."
Lopez's arrest warrant said cellphone records put him at the carjacking scene. It also said a search of his home turned up "pants, a sweatshirt, a face mask with Nike swoosh and sneakers that appeared to be an exact match to what Lopez was wearing during the incident." In addition, Lopez allegedly had cuts on his right knuckles consistent with what happened to the victim.
"The physical wounds will go away. The mental anguish, the emotional part of this is going to be with that family for a little while," Woods said.
The incident happened at a home on Bayberry Lane. According to the warrant, the victim told police his wife had driven the car home after the two of them went to lunch in Norwalk. He also said he didn't notice anyone following them, the warrant stated. Police have said they believe the victim was targeted and followed home.
The couple pulled into the garage, where his wife went inside the home, and he slid over into the driver's seat to fix the car's Apple Car Play, the warrant said. A Ring camera in the garage captured two people enter the garage through the door that was still open, then dragged the victim from the car. The victim told police the first suspect, who police have not yet identified, "put his hand into a pocket and intimated that he had some type of weapon," the warrant said. Lopez allegedly put the victim in a chokehold and punched him multiple times in the head and face, during which the victim "thought he was going to pass out." The victim's shirt was also torn open, and all of the buttons were scattered on the garage floor, according to the warrant.
Once the struggle ended, the suspects took off in the car, which had the victim's wife's phone and credit card inside, the warrant said.
When McGill was later arrested, police said he had that credit card in his pocket. He's charged with four counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, operating a chop shop, conspiracy to commit larceny, conspiracy to illegal operation of a chop shop and credit card theft. He posted $200,000 bond and returns to court in New Britain Oct. 10.
Lopez is being held on $500,000 in the Westport case. He was initially charged as a juvenile with strangulation, robbery by carjacking, burglary, criminal attempt to commit larceny of a motor vehicle and assault in the Westport incident. He was also charged with larceny of a motor vehicle and illegal taking of a payment card related to the theft of a BMW the day before the carjacking. Lopez is now also charged as an adult with home invasion in the carjacking. He's due in Stamford Superior Court on that charge on Nov. 8.