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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 29, 2014

District Man Sentenced To Eight-Year Prison Term For Armed Home Invasion In Northeast Washington-Victims Were Held At Gunpoint By Masked Men While Their Home Was Ransacked-

     WASHINGTON – Andre Townsend, 20, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to an eight-year prison term for his role in an armed home invasion that took place last fall in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Townsend pled guilty in March 2014, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of armed robbery, first-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence, and unlawful entry. He was sentenced by the Honorable William M. Jackson. Upon completion of his prison term, Townsend will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, Townsend and his accomplices, who were wearing ski masks, carried out the crimes at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2013. They saw a taxicab dropping off the victim in the 5700 block of Blaine Street NE. They followed the victim into his home. Once inside, they held the victim, the victim’s fiancé, and the victim’s mother at gunpoint for approximately 40 minutes while they ransacked the home and stole various items. Those items included cash, electronics, and the fiancé’s engagement ring, which the fiancé unsuccessfully tried to hide from the defendants during the burglary.

     Townsend and the other assailants left the home in two vehicles that belonged to the victims and deposited the proceeds from the burglary inside a vacant home on Raleigh Street SE. Worried that the police might recover fingerprints from the vehicles they had stolen, the men then drove the vehicles into a field adjacent to an elementary school on Alabama Avenue SE, set the vehicles on fire, and retreated on foot to the vacant home on Raleigh Street SE.

     One of the accomplices was wearing a GPS tracking device in connection with his supervised release in an unrelated robbery case. Members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) used data generated by that device to track the defendants to the home on Raleigh Street SE. The police barricaded the residence and ultimately arrested all of the defendants in or near the residence. The police also recovered most of the proceeds of the burglary, along with several ski masks, from the Raleigh Street home. The police did not recover the engagement ring.

     A co-defendant in the case, Ricardo Blakeney, 21, of Washington, D.C., has pled guilty to second-degree burglary and is to be sentenced Oct. 17, 2014. A third co-defendant, Darnell Mason, 22, also of Washington, D.C., is scheduled for trial on Nov. 19, 2014.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the detectives and officers who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Richard Cheatham and Antoinette Sakamsa. Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ben Schrader and Karen Seifert, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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Updated February 19, 2015