A Minneapolis woman accused of using "force, violence and intimidation" in three separate violent carjackings has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.
Krisanne Marie Benjamin will spend 100 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday. The 25-year-old was also ordered to pay $13,323.53 in restitution.
“The staggering increase in carjackings throughout the Twin Cities metro has not gone unnoticed by federal law enforcement,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats in a news release. Benjamin's sentence, he said, "highlights the seriousness of these crimes and the significant penalties facing those who commit them.”
Benjamin pleaded guilty in September to one count of aiding and abetting carjacking. As part of the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, two other carjacking-related counts that had been filed against her were dismissed.
She had been charged along with a co-defendant, Jeremiah Lee Ironrope, who also pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced. Authorities said the two were behind three armed carjackings that happened in the Twin Cities during the summer of 2020.
- A 2008 Lexus ES350 on July 26, 2020 in Maple Grove
- A 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe on Aug. 7, 2020 in St. Paul
- A 2017 Audi A4 on Aug. 28, 2020 in Richfield, during which Ironrope is accused of pointing a sawed-off shotgun at the driver while Benjamin watched from a nearby vehicle
Ironrope faced allegations of additional carjackings in December 2020, occurring in St. Louis Park and St. Paul. His sentencing is currently set for April 7, 2022.
The summer of 2020 marked the start of a spike in carjackings in the Twin Cities, with 405 in Minneapolis alone that year. Violent carjackings have surged once again since the fall of 2021, with authorities in recent weeks announcing arrests in multiple incidents. Many of the suspects are under the age of 18.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul, in Wednesday's announcement in the Benjamin case, said this surge "has spread a sense of terror and fear across our communities, and we are pleased that this sentence sends a strong message of deterrence to those seeking to victimize our neighbors."