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Press Release

United States Attorney Announces Belcourt, ND, Man Sentenced to Seven years in Federal Prison for Carjacking

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

FARGO - United States Attorney Nicholas W. Chase announced that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte sentenced John Thomas Poitra, age 32, Belcourt, ND, to 7 years in federal prison for carjacking,18 U.S.C. § 2119.  Chief Judge Welte also sentenced Poitra to three years supervised release, a $100 Special Assessment, and restitution of $496.24 to the victim of the carjacking and $1,188.00 to the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (police vehicle damages).

On March 17, 2020, at 4:20 p.m., John Thomas Poitra, was walking in the area of 6th Avenue North and 8th Street North in Fargo, ND, when he approached someone who had just parked a Chevy Silverado pickup truck and demanded the keys to the pickup and threatened to stab the owner.  Poitra then fled the area in the stolen Silverado pickup striking a vehicle as he fled.  After receiving notification of the carjacking, the Fargo Police Department observed Poitra driving against traffic south on 10th Street in Fargo, ND, where he continued to flee south, striking at least two vehicles.  The Fargo Police Department and North Dakota State Highway Patrol followed Poitra east on I-94, where Deputies from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office stopped and arrested Poitra approximately one-half mile east of 34th Street, Moorhead, MN.

Poitra plead guilty to one count of carjacking on September 30, 2021. 

"Car jackings strike at the heart of a community’s sense of safety and security, and we hope today’s strong sentence will cause anyone to think twice before taking advantage of an unsuspecting victim targeted simply because of the type of car they drive,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul.  “I want to thank our local partners for their quick work on this case which helped ensure Mr. Poitra’s joyride took him straight to federal prison.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fargo Police Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, and Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and the case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, with Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Greenley assigned to the case.



Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458

Updated February 3, 2022