Three men are facing federal charges in connection to separate violent carjackings in the Twin Cities this summer.
Joshoamei Deangelo Richardson, 19, of St. Paul, and James Brock Williams Jr., 19, of St. Paul are each charged with aiding and abetting carjacking as well as aiding and abetting using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in connection to a carjacking in St. Paul on Aug. 25, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Monday.
Delaney Nicholas Harris, 19, of Chicago, is charged with aiding and abetting carjacking in connection to an incident in Minneapolis on June 1.
“This disturbing spike in carjackings throughout the Twin Cities has not gone unnoticed by federal law enforcement. This is unacceptable and we will not hesitate to hold accountable individuals who perpetrate this type of violence in our communities," U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said in a statement.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office news release, which cites court documents, on June 1, Minneapolis police officers responded to a report of a carjacking in downtown Minneapolis.
A witness told officers two men – one was later identified as Harris – approached a man who was getting out of his vehicle and threw him to the ground. One of the men showed a gun, threatened to kill the victim and demanded his car keys, the release says. The other man has not yet been identified.
The witness also noted Harris was holding a red plastic cup prior to the incident. Officers recovered the cup, which had Harris' fingerprints and DNA, the release says.
On Aug. 25, Richardson and Williams allegedly used force and violence, while showing a gun, to steal a 2012 Dodge Charger in St. Paul, the release says. Williams is accused of brandishing a firearm, demanding the keys and threatening the motorist while he got out of his car.
Richardson and Williams then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges.
The three men have already made their initial appearances in court and have been ordered to remain in detention pending further proceedings, the release notes.
Carjackings in Minneapolis
The number of carjackings in Minneapolis has spiked this year, with the Star Tribune reporting the Minneapolis Police Department didn't specifically track carjackings until Sept. 22 because they were so infrequent.
In late October, the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct, which covers the Uptown area, issued a crime alert about an increase in robberies, including carjackings, calling it "very troubling." From Oct. 14-23, six carjackings were reported just within the 5th Precinct's coverage area.
The Star Tribune says in the past seven weeks, Minneapolis police have reported at least 76 carjackings or attempts in the city, noting in many cases teenage suspects approach victims on the street or in a parking lot while they're distracted with routine tasks.