Columbia, South Carolina --- Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that a Federal Grand Jury in Columbia returned an indictment against a North Carolina man accused of carjacking two people last December. Shia Lee, 33, of Burlington, North Carolina, was charged on December 7 with carjacking and brandishing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The indictment alleges that on December 19, 2020, Lee brandished a firearm and stole a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee from two people at a rest area outside of Orangeburg, one of whom was an off-duty law enforcement officer.
According to the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, Lee later abandoned the vehicle in Branchville and stole a 2014 Dodge Caravan that was left running outside a convenience store. Lee led law enforcement officers on a vehicle pursuit and was subsequently taken into custody. The victims in these incidents were not injured.
“Lee’s alleged actions placed his victims, law enforcement officers, and the public in great danger,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Columbia Special Agent in Charge, Susan Ferensic. “The quick action taken by our law enforcement partners was vital in helping us put together this case for indictment.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, City of Bamberg Police Department, Branchville Police Department, City of Laurens Police Department, and Denmark Police Department as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott Daniels.
If convicted, Lee faces a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison and up to life imprisonment, plus a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years of court ordered supervision to follow any term of imprisonment. Lee will be arraigned before a United States Magistrate Judge on December 21 at 10:45 a.m. in Courtroom 7 of the Matthew J. Perry Courthouse in Columbia.
All charges in the indictment are only accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Derek A. Shoemake (813) 843-0982