Father’s fight for justice: Retired police officer marches with sign calling out carjacker

CLEVELAND — A retired police officer is fighting for justice in an unusual way after his son was recently carjacked.

Franco Lanza made a sign calling the carjacker a coward, went to the crime scene and marched in the street, sending the suspect a message.

"I'm calling him out," Lanza told the FOX 8 I-TEAM. "Anybody that takes property from another person is a coward. And he's a coward. But this bad guy has to know what’s going on. We're coming for him. We've gotta stop this nonsense."

Lanza retired from the Parma Police Department after having a career that included overseeing a regional bomb squad.

On August 1, Lanza's son was robbed at gunpoint and carjacked just steps away from Cleveland's trendy Gordon Square.

"You take his car, his phone, his wallet, but you stick a gun in my son's face, you draw the line," Lanza said.

His son spoke to the I-TEAM by phone, saying, "That's something I won't ever forget, having to stare down the barrel of the gun."

He also spoke about his dad trying to make a break in the case.

"I really appreciate him doing that. He's told me you mess with my son, you mess with me, and he's clearly taken that to heart," he added.

The victim also said it seemed as if the carjacker had done this before.

"I parked my car. It was broad daylight," he explained.

Alleged carjacker

Cleveland police provided the I-TEAM with pictures of the suspect. He was seen riding a bike just before the carjacking. Police are hoping the suspect’s hair or orange backpack might help someone recognize him.

Meanwhile, Lanza hopes he can spark a tip or a surrender.

"He told my son to give it up. I'm telling him to give it up. Turn yourself in," said Lanza.

Lanza hopes he can at least make it harder for the gunman to hide.

"I have to do something," he added. "Some people are gonna think I'm crazy for being out here. It’s only a matter of time. Justice prevails."

It's currently not clear if the carjacking can be tied to any other cases. Cleveland police are already investigating another recent robbery and carjacking in this same neighborhood.

In fact, police say they've have been seeing a spike in these kinds of crimes in many parts of the city.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Cleveland Police Second District Detective Bureau at (216) 623-2760 or (216) 623-5218.

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