Two teens were responsible for 10 violent carjackings and more than two dozen related crimes that happened across the Twin Cities metro earlier this month.
Kashawn Wertman, 18 years old, and Nautica Argue, 19, were charged in Hennepin County District Court Friday with a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings, robberies and other crimes that happened Jan. 7-17 in 15 metro cities.
Police arrested the two Tuesday after leading police on a 45-minute chase in a stolen vehicle, authorities said. Both are from St. Paul.
Wertman currently faces 17 counts, while Argue has been charged with 14 crimes. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the investigation is still going on, and his office expects more charges to be filed.
Among the incident authorities say Wertman and Argue were involved in:
- On Jan. 7 in White Bear Lake, a food delivery driver was carjacked at gunpoint
- Two days later, a woman attending her child's basketball game had her car stolen when she went to her vehicle in the middle school's parking lot to get a bottle of water
- Later that evening, two women at a Roseville shopping center were pushed to the ground — one was threatened and managed to call 911 from her watch without losing any belongings, while the other had a purse and phone stolen
- Jan. 10, a man in a mask ran up behind a woman in a St. Louis Park parking ramp, grabbed her purse, then shoved her to the pavement before stealing her vehicle and fleeing
- The afternoon and evening of Jan. 12, they were involved in an auto theft in Richfield where they suggested they had guns, a violent carjacking in Brooklyn Center where a woman was punched in the face, an attempted carjacking outside of an Edina daycare during which one of the suspects jumped on top of the victim after she fell, and a carjacking in St. Louis Park during which the victim was punched in the head
- A auto theft, carjacking and robbery Jan. 15-17 in St Louis Park
- A carjacking in Minneapolis' Marcy-Holmes neighborhood Jan. 17
Wertman, according to the charges, admitted to one car theft and to fleeing from police, but denied the other allegations and said officers "should be out arresting murders, not people who steal cars." He has juvenile adjudications for robbery and assault.
In all, authorities say the crimes the two are accused of occurred in St. Louis Park, Plymouth, Richfield, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Edina, White Bear Lake, Roseville, Columbia Heights, Lakeville, Eagan, Little Canada, Burnsville, Woodbury and St. Paul.
"The excellent police work by the numerous law enforcement agencies in the greater Twin Cities area has resulted in the apprehension of two dangerous people, who had terrorized countless community members,” Freeman said in a release.
"Our office will now do our part as the charging agency in the criminal justice system, and prosecute these defendants to the fullest extent of the law.”
Wertman and Argue are currently being held in Hennepin County Jail and made first appearances Friday. Argue has an omnibus hearing set for Feb. 15, with Wertman's slated for Feb. 17.