Dance studio adds safety precautions after armed carjacking in parking lot

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 11:23 AM EDT
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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Vinton police are looking for two people after an armed carjacking Wednesday night at a dance studio. Studio 45 is now adding additional safety precautions around the building with plans to move forward.

The carjacking happened in Studio 45′s parking lot. WDBJ7 spoke with the dance director and owner about the incident. The dance director explained how carjacking isn’t a common occurrence.

“We have never had anything like this happen to us, specifically in this area,” Ryan Bartley said.

Bartley got a call from one of her student’s family members during Wednesday night’s dance class.

“She said, ‘I need you to make sure that you lock all the dancers up there. My car just got stolen at gunpoint and they just left. The police are on their way.’ So I did what she asked. I locked everybody up here,” Bartley said.

The dance studio’s owner explained how her students’ safety is a top priority.

“I think this was probably one of the nightmares that I have about owning a studio and being responsible for the safety of the kids,” Terri Hensley said. “We are just thankful that nothing worse happened, that it was adults handling the situation and not the children.”

The studio is now adding extra precautions like cameras and lights outside to keep students safe.

“We’re having parents actually come into the studio to pick up their kids and walk them down,” Hensley said.

Classes will go on as normal, but everyone is reminded to be aware of their surroundings.

“Sometimes kids feel like they are superheroes and they can kind of do whatever they want and think ‘oh, it’ll never happen to me or anything like that,” Bartley said. “But it could and you just never know.”

Police found the stolen car a few blocks from the dance studio.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Vinton Police Department.

EARLIER STORY: The Vinton Police Department has found a vehicle involved in a carjacking Wednesday night.

Police say they responded at 8:39 p.m. to 116 Jefferson Ave for a reported robbery, in regards to reports of an armed carjacking.

Early investigations revealed the carjackers showed a gun and stole the victim’s 2009 Honda Accord and drove away before police arrived.

The carjackers are described as two black males, one wearing a yellow hoodie and another wearing a black hoodie. Both were wearing masks to cover portions of their faces.

Police say they found the stolen Honda Thursday morning, unoccupied, in an alleyway near Raleigh Ave in Vinton.

Police say no one has been arrested. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Vinton Police Department at 540-983-0617.