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Justice News

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Two District Men Charged in 98-Count Indictment for Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Armed Kidnapping, and Fraud

Maryland Woman Also Charged with Fraud and Receiving Stolen Property

            WASHINGTON – Mekhi Truesdale, 19, and William Bell, 19, both of Washington, D.C., have been indicted on 98 charges, including conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed kidnapping, and fraud, for a series of armed robberies that took place during the fall of 2020 in Northwest Washington. A third individual, Jada Winder, 19, of Greenbelt, Md., was also indicted on fraud and receiving stolen property charges.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, Pamela A. Smith, Chief of the U.S. Park Police, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            The indictment was returned on Nov. 5, 2021. Bell was arrested yesterday in San Luis Obispo, Calif., by the U.S. Marshals Service.  Winder was arrested in Greenbelt by the U.S. Marshals on Nov. 24, 2021.  Truesdale was arrested in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 5, 2020, following a foot chase in the Georgetown area. Truesdale and Bell remain detained pending further court proceedings, and all three defendants are to appear for a hearing on Dec. 10, 2021, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

            The indictment follows an investigation by MPD, FBI, and the U.S. Park Police into a series of armed robbery‑related incidents that occurred in the District of Columbia and Maryland in October and November 2020.  According to the government’s evidence, between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1, 2020, Truesdale and Bell robbed at least 20 people at gunpoint or knifepoint across Northwest Washington.  Three of the victims were kidnapped and forced into a vehicle before or after they were robbed.  Following many of the incidents, Truesdale and Bell used mobile applications such as Venmo and Cash App to transfer funds from the victims to themselves and, on at least two occasions, to Winder.

            The indictment details a series of 11 armed robberies committed between Oct. 17, 2020 and Nov. 1, 2020, at various locations in Northwest Washington. Two took place at Fort Reno Park. In one stretch of approximately four hours, late Oct. 31, 2020, and early Nov. 1, 2020, Truesdale and Bell allegedly committed four robberies, at four different locations: Fort Reno Park, the 3100 block of P Street NW, the 1400 block of 22d Street NW, and the 2400 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. These four robberies involved a total of nine victims.

            Truesdale and Bell are charged with a number of offenses related to the series of crimes, including conspiracy to commit a crime of violence and 95 counts of armed robbery, armed kidnapping, assault with intent to rob, assault with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, as well as various fraud offenses.  Winder is charged with two counts of first-degree felony fraud and two counts of receiving stolen property.

             An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

            This case is being investigated by MPD, the FBI Washington Field Office’s Violent Crimes Task Force, and the U.S. Park Police.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Metro Transit Police Department and the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department.

            In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, Chief Smith, and Chief Contee expressed appreciation for the work of those investigating the case from MPD, the FBI Washington Field Office, and U.S. Park Police, as well as for the assistance of the Deputy U.S. Marshals involved in locating the defendants. 

            They also acknowledged the efforts of those working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Debra McPherson and Alesha Matthews Yette.  Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Gold and Charles R. Jones, who are investigating and prosecuting the case, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Carter, who investigated the case prior to indictment.


Updated December 1, 2021