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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

February 22, 2012

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
(612) 664-5611

Minneapolis Man Sentenced for Robbing the Erte’ Restaurant

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier today in federal court, a 42–year–old Minneapolis man was sentenced for committing the armed robbery of a Minneapolis restaurant on February 10, 2011. United States District Court Judge David S. Doty sentenced Charles Vincent Fletcher to195 months in federal prison on one count of interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act, and one count of being a felon in possession of firearm. Fletcher was indicted on June 15, 2011, and pleaded guilty on October 13, 2011.

In his plea agreement, Fletcher admitted that on February 10, 2011, he entered the restaurant, requesting to see the manager. He then pulled out a nine–millimeter pistol and forced two employees into an office, where he demanded money. When he realized no money was available, he took a cordless phone, a wallet, and a set of keys from the employees. As police arrived, Fletcher dropped the wallet and gun and ran from the premises. He was arrested a short time later, the phone and keys still in his possession.

Because he is a felon, Fletcher cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition at any time. He has a Dakota County conviction for third–degree burglary (1997) and two Hennepin County convictions for third–degree burglary (2006).

In the present case, he was charged under the Hobbs Act, which was passed by Congress in 1946 and allows federal prosecutors to prosecute criminals who commit robberies in places of business involved in interstate commerce. For violent defendants with aggravated criminal histories, federal prosecution of these cases can be beneficial since the penalties are often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually their entire prison sentences behind bars.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.