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Press Release

Two Individuals Charged in Federal Criminal Complaint for Violent Carjacking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Two individuals have been charged in a federal criminal complaint for carjacking involving a robbery and holding a victim at gunpoint, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on February 14, 2023, in Anoka County, Jamel Timothy Funchess, 18, and T’Shawn Teon Palton, 21, took a motor vehicle from the vehicle’s owner, by force, violence, and intimidation, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily harm.

According to a law enforcement affidavit, the victim had made arrangements over Facebook Marketplace to buy a cell phone. The victim and the purported seller arranged to meet at a location in Columbia Heights. When the victim arrived at the location and was still in the car, two men approached and one pointed a firearm at the victim. The men ordered the victim to the backseat of the car. The men then got into the victim’s car, drove a few blocks, and picked up a third male. The three individuals held the victim at gunpoint for the next several hours. During this time, the men demanded that the victim surrender their cell phone, wallet, and credit cards, and provide banking information. They drove to several gas stations around the Twin Cities in an attempt to use the victim’s cards to withdraw money. Each of the three men held the firearm during this time and pointed it at the victim. At one point, one of the men struck the victim in the face with the firearm. Toward the end of the ordeal, the three men discussed what to do with the victim and openly talked about murdering the victim. Eventually, they dropped the victim on a road in St. Paul and drove away in the victim’s car. The victim ran to a nearby gas station and borrowed an employee’s cell phone to call 911.

Officers were able to use the victim’s cell phone location to find Palton, Funchess, and the third kidnapper, along with the victim’s stolen car and items.

Both defendants are charged with one count of carjacking. They made their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge John F. Docherty.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Bloomington Police Department, and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Calhoun-Lopez and Sarah Hudleston are prosecuting the case.

A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated March 14, 2023

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Violent Crime
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