Baltimore, Maryland -- Michael Wedington, Jr., age 19, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty on August 20, 2020, to the federal charge of kidnapping for his role in the armed carjacking of two victims in June 2019.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, Wedington participated in two armed carjackings that occurred on June 8 and June 10, 2019, respectively. In each instance, the victim was intending to purchase tools as part of an alleged transaction that Wedington set up through a cellular phone-based application, “OfferUp,” which connects local buyers and sellers of various products. When the victims arrived at the designated meeting spot, they were then directed to a second location, where the victims were robbed at gunpoint by Wedington and others, who also stole their vehicles.
In the carjacking on June 8, 2019, the victim arrived in the area of Washington Boulevard and South Monroe Street in Baltimore and was then directed to the 2400 block of West Lexington Street. Upon arriving, the victim was waived down and approached by Wedington and two other men. At first the men appeared to load the victim’s van with the purported tools they were purportedly selling. However, one suspect was armed with a handgun and forced the victim into the rear of his vehicle. Wedington and his accomplices stole the victim’s wallet and cash, a driver’s license, debit card and his cellular phone. As they drove away, one suspect placed a handgun in the victim’s mouth and demanded the Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the victim’s debit card. The suspects drove to a gas station in Northwest Baltimore with the victim still in the van, and one of the suspects used the PIN the victim had provided to obtain cash from an ATM. The victim escaped from the van in the area of the 7000 block of Park Heights Avenue and called the Baltimore Police Department to report the incident. The stolen vehicle was recovered five days later in that area of the 2700 block of Tivoly Avenue in Baltimore.
In the second carjacking on June 10, 2019, the victim was lured to the 2400 block of West Lexington Street through the OfferUp application by a user who was purportedly selling tools and equipment. When the victim arrived, he was directed to the back alley behind West Fayette Street, where Wedington and another individual approached him—both armed with handguns. The two men took the victim’s wallet, containing over $1,000 in cash, the victim’s two cell phones, and the victim’s Toyota Sienna vehicle.
Wedington was identified in a photo array, and Wedington’s fingerprint was recovered from the van stolen in the second carjacking. On November 1, 2019, a federal search warrant was executed at Wedington’s primary residence, which is located near the scenes of the two carjackings, and law enforcement recovered a Toyota car key, a firearm, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, replica firearms, and cellular phones. Law enforcement recovered from one of Wedington’s cell phones evidence of the OfferUp application and the “Brian” account which Wedington had used to orchestrate the June 8, 2019 carjacking.
Wedington faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled Wedington's sentencing for November 19, 2020.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended FBI and BPD for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew DellaBetta and Daniel Loveland, who are prosecuting the case.
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