MINNEAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors say a Minneapolis man has been sentenced for putting “several lives at risk” during an armed carjacking spree last March.
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced that Javon Thomas Wilson-Branch, 19, has been sentenced to 121 months in federal prison, which is just over 10 years. He’s also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $1,100 in restitution.
Wilson-Branch is accused of carjacking three vehicles along with an accomplice in less than 24 hours. The first carjacking incident occurred at 8 p.m. on March 16 in Minneapolis. Branch allegedly threatened two victims with a Springfield Armory assault rifle and stole their Mercedes Benz SUV.
At about 4 a.m. the next morning, Wilson-Branch and the accomplice pulled up next to a driver in a Toyota Highlander in Minneapolis and stole the vehicle from the victim at gunpoint. Officials say an AirTag in the stolen vehicle showed that it was driven to St. Paul and abandoned at around 4:30 a.m.
Thirty minutes later, Wilson-Branch and the accomplice are accused of carjacking a victim in an Audi A6. Again, firearms were used to intimidate the victims into handing over the vehicle’s keys and other valuable items.
Wilson-Branch and the accomplice drove away in separate stolen vehicles.
St. Paul police spotted the two carjacked vehicles a half hour later near Maryland Avenue and Western Avenue. Officers attempted a traffic stop, but the drivers fled from the pursuit at high rates of speed.
“This individual put several lives at risk by going on an armed carjacking spree and evading law enforcement by driving 120 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said. “This case offers a snapshot of a disturbing trend of violent and reckless behavior. Wilson-Branch’s spree is one of the reasons our office has focused our resources on prosecuting violent carjacking cases.”
The stolen Audi was later located by Woodbury police in a mall parking lot. Wilson-Branch was arrested in another building after a short foot chase, according to officials.
“Two of the firearms used in the carjackings, each fully loaded with high-capacity magazines, and a recently stolen box of ammunition, were located inside the Audi A6, along with the keys to the previously carjacked Toyota Highlander,” the attorney’s office said in a press release.
Wilson later pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting carjacking. He also admitted to aiding and abetting a third carjacking.
The investigation into the case was conducted by the FBI as well as the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Woodbury police departments.