2 face federal counts in plot to carjack Uber, Lyft drivers

June 9, 2022 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two men have been charged in an alleged conspiracy to violently rob and carjack Uber and Lyft drivers in the Twin Cities metro area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

An 18-year-old Brooklyn Park man and a 20-year-old Minneapolis man were named Wednesday in a 20-count federal indictment that charges them with conspiracy, brandishing firearms, aiding and abetting carjacking and other crimes.

The charges come weeks after U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced that, as part of a new strategy to address rising violent crime in the Twin Cities, all adults who are accused of carjacking would be charged with federal crimes.

Luger said in a statement that the indictment “represents an important step forward in that strategy. As alleged, these two defendants led a carjacking ring that engaged in a series of violent, premeditated acts against Uber and Lyft drivers.”

According to the charges, over a roughly five-week span in September and October, the two men and others lured Uber and Lyft drivers to specific locations, letting them think they were dropping someone off or picking someone up.

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When the drivers arrived, members of the conspiracy brandished firearms and robbed the drivers of their phones and wallets. They then forced the drivers to unlock their cellphones and transfer money, before carjacking them at gunpoint, according to the charges. The carjackers allegedly hit, pistol-whipped and threatened to kill the drivers.