Teens charged with carjacking taxi outside East County Denny’s

LA MESA, Calif. — Carjacking and robbery charges were filed Friday against three teens who allegedly assaulted a cab driver outside a La Mesa restaurant and stole his taxi at gunpoint.

Jaden Razell Jones, 19, of Spring Valley, Kaitlyn Arianna Gendelman, 19, of El Cajon, and Jacob Ronald Jensen, 18, of El Cajon are accused iof carjacking the cabbie outside Denny’s in the 6900 block of Alvarado Road in La Mesa, just east of San Diego State University, in the early morning hours on Wednesday. A 17-year-old boy was also arrested with the teens, but his name and information regarding his criminal case were withheld due to his age.

The group of youths called for a cab shortly before 1 a.m., then after boarding the Blue Star Cab vehicle, began quarreling over the fare, La Mesa Lt. Greg Runge said. Two of them then punched the driver, prompting him to jump out of the taxi, the lieutenant said. At that point, one of the teens got behind the wheel of the cab, pointed a handgun at the victim and drove off, Runge said.

Using signals from a GPS-tracking device in the stolen cab, police tracked the vehicle down in the 10700 block of US Elevator Road in Spring Valley about 20 minutes later. The taxi was unoccupied, but a gun had been left behind inside, the lieutenant said.

Officers searched the area with help from a sheriff’s helicopter, soon capturing the suspects within a block of the abandoned taxi. The victim and a witness positively identified the group as the alleged perpetrators in a curbside lineup.

The cabbie, who suffered a laceration and minor swelling to his face during the crime, declined medical treatment, Runge said.

Jones, who’s charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in addition to carjacking and robbery, has prior convictions for robbery and evading arrest, according to the criminal complaint. He faces up to 24 years in state prison if convicted, while Jensen and Gendelman would face 19 years and 10 years, respectively.

Jones is being held without bail for allegedly violating probation in the robbery case, while Jensen is being held on $150,000 bail and Gendelman on $50,000 bail.

The trio are due back in court March 13 for a readiness conference.

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