Man Who Carjacked a Flowery Branch Woman's Car After Burglarizing Her Home Pleads Guilty
GAINESVILLE, GA - A man who carjacked his burglary victim’s car when she had the misfortune of returning to her home in Flowery Branch while he was burglarizing it, pleaded guilty today in federal district court to using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. Rodolfo Esquivel, 28, of Buford, Georgia, was indicted on February 28, 2012.
“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates a continued strong emphasis by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and other federal, state and local agencies on getting armed and dangerous criminals, who prey on our citizens, off the street,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Rodolfo Esquivel not only carried a weapon when he burglarized the victim’s house, but he used the gun to intimidate the innocent victim into giving up her vehicle, even going so far as to recklessly fire the weapon to show he was serious.”
Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives commented, “Crimes like carjackings, home invasions and armed robberies will always be a priority of ATF and the law enforcement partners in this investigation. This type of violence jeopardizes innocent life in a matter of seconds.” Sweetow further said, “Our investigative work aims at preventing individuals from becoming victims of violent crime. People should be able to drive their cars, spend time at home with their families, and go about their daily routines without fear of becoming the victim of an armed predator.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On March 29, 2011, Rodolfo Esquivel and an accomplice went to a home located on McEver Road, in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Esquivel was planning to commit a daytime burglary and was looking for houses where the owners were not at home. While Esquivel broke into the house and gathered items to steal, his accomplice waited outside in the car. During the burglary, the woman who lived in the home returned. As she drove up her driveway she noticed the unfamiliar car where the accomplice was waiting. Seeing the strange car in her driveway, she parked her car, approached the accomplice, and asked him what he was doing there. The accomplice gestured toward the house and replied that his friend was looking for a gas can. As the woman started toward the house, the accomplice started his vehicle and fled the scene. The woman then saw Rodolfo Esquivel coming toward her from inside of her garage, and she turned and tried to leave. When Esquivel yelled at her to stop, she noticed he was carrying a handgun. Esquivel then discovered that his accomplice had fled, leaving him at the scene without transportation. Esquivel demanded that the woman give him the keys to her vehicle, pointed his weapon at her and threatened to kill her. Then, as if to emphasize how serious he was, Esquivel aimed the weapon to the side of the driveway and fired it once into the ground, again demanding the keys and shouting “this is real!” Esquivel took the woman’s keys and her cell phone, smashing the cell phone on the ground. He then returned to the garage and retrieved the pillowcase full of items he had stolen from the woman’s home. As Esquivel entered the woman’s car, she attempted to retrieve her purse from the car by reaching through the car’s open window. Esquivel stopped her by pointing his gun at her and saying “bitch, I will kill you!” He then fled the scene. The woman then ran to her neighbor’s home and called 911.
Defendant could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
A sentence date has not yet been determined by the court. The sentencing will take place in Gainesville, before United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Steven E. Butler is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.