St. Paul Man Sentenced to 14.5 Years in Prison for Multiple Armed Robberies of University Avenue Grocery Stores
MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 184 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $49,213.85 in restitution for his role in a string of violent carjackings throughout the Twin Cities. U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced the defendant.
“This disturbing wave of carjackings throughout the Twin Cities is eroding our overall sense of safety and security,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working in close coordination with all levels of law enforcement to bring this trend to an end.”
“Carjacking is a borderless, flagrant crime that can affect anyone at any time. These violent carjackings terrorized the Twin Cities and instilled fear in our communities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul. “Today’s sentencing underscores that those who commit these senseless acts of violence will face significant penalties for their actions. The FBI is committed to our ongoing work with our law enforcement partners to take these criminals off the streets.”
According to court documents, on August 28, 2020, Jeremiah Lee Ironrope, 25, and his co-defendant Krisanne Marie Benjamin, 26, drove a maroon SUV to a parking lot in Richfield, where they parked near a 2017 Audi. Ironrope approached the driver of the Audi and pointed a Remington 870 l2-gauge shotgun, with a sawed-off barrel, at the driver and demanded the car keys. Benjamin kept watch from the maroon SUV as Ironrope started the Audi and drove away. Benjamin followed in the maroon SUV.
According to court documents, in the early morning hours of August 29, 2020, the Minnesota State Patrol used GPS data to track and locate the stolen Audi, which was driven by Ironrope and occupied by Benjamin. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but Ironrope drove away at a high rate of speed, while cutting across multiple lanes of traffic, swerving between cars, and driving through red lights. During the flight from law enforcement, Benjamin got out of the vehicle and fled on foot while Ironrope continued fleeing in the Audi. Law enforcement found the vehicle running and unoccupied in Minneapolis. The vehicle had been partially spray-painted black. Inside officers found a stolen wallet, bottles of spray paint, a hat, gloves, and receipts. Law enforcement also found a used l2-gauge shotgun shell under the driver's seat.
On September 9, 2021, Ironrope pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. On September 7, 2021, co-defendant Benjamin pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting carjacking.
As part of their guilty pleas, Ironrope and Benjamin admitted to two additional carjackings that occurred on July 26, 2020, in Maple Grove and August 7, 2020, in St. Paul. In both instances, the defendants physically assaulted the victims before stealing their vehicles. Ironrope also admitted to two December 2020 carjackings occurring in St. Louis Park and St. Paul. In both instances, Ironrope pointed a handgun at the victims before stealing their vehicles.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the St. Paul Police Department, the Maple Grove Police Department, the Richfield Police Department, the Edina Police Department, the Roseville Police Department, and the Minnesota State Patrol.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan H. Nelson.