U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
March 1, 2010
Alfredo Hernandez pleads guilty to armed carjacking charges
Alfredo Hernandez, 28, formerly of Providence, R.I., pled guilty Monday to one count each of carjacking and being in possession of a firearm while in the commission of a violent crime, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha. Hernandez was charged in connection with an armed carjacking that occurred in the parking lot of a Cranston, R.I., school on June 7, 2009.
Hernandez, who was arrested shortly after the carjacking took place, was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 15, 2009. The defendant was arraigned on an indictment on July 22, 2009. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, who accepted the defendant’s change of plea Monday, scheduled a sentencing hearing on June 17, 2010.
On June 7, 2009, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Cranston Police dispatched officers to a report of a carjacking outside the Dutemple School on Garden Street, Cranston. A young couple met police, and reported soon after parking their car, and getting their 13 month baby out of her car seat, they were approached by an armed man. The man pointed a semi-automatic handgun at them and ordered them to “throw the keys on the ground.”
The young woman retrieved the car keys from the baby’s diaper bag and tossed them on the ground. After the gunman retrieved the keys he told the victims to “walk away and don’t be stupid.” The robber then commandeered the car and quickly left the parking lot. The incident was witnessed by two other bystanders who reported similar accounts of the crime and gave descriptions of the carjacker.
About a half hour after police broadcast a description of the stolen vehicle and of the carjacker, a Providence Police officer observed a vehicle fitting the same description traveling on Wickenden Street in Providence. While calling for assistance, the officer stopped the vehicle without incident.
From the driver’s side of the vehicle, the officer observed the handle of a handgun sticking out of an open backpack on the passenger seat. Hernandez, who was alone in the vehicle, was removed at gunpoint. The officer retrieved the firearm, a 9mm, semi-automatic pistol, and a box containing 39 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.
While being taken into custody, Hernandez admitted to the arresting officer that he had stolen the vehicle. Later, while being questioned at the Providence Police station by a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Hernandez told the agent that he wanted to steal a car so he could travel to New Orleans, Louisiana. Hernandez said he intentionally chose the victims of this crime because they appeared to be a young family who would not resist his demands because of the presence of the baby. Hernandez acknowledged to the agent that he confronted the family with a loaded handgun.
The matter was investigated by Cranston Police, Providence Police and ATF. Hernandez was returned to a detention facility to await his sentencing hearing.