DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 15, 2020
Erica H. MacDonald
, United States Attorney
Contact: Tasha Zerna

Rochester Man Charged with Arson of Minneapolis Pawn Shop

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced a federal criminal complaint against MONTEZ TERRILL LEE, 25, charging him with arson. LEE, who was arrested today in Rochester, Minnesota, will make his initial appearance on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court.

According to the allegations in the complaint, on June 8, 2020, investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received from an anonymous source video footage from an arson that took place on May 28, 2020, at a pawn shop located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video shows a masked man, later identified as LEE, pouring liquid from a metal container throughout the pawn shop. A second video shows LEE standing in front of the burning pawn shop and LEE can be heard saying, “[expletive] this place. We’re gonna burn this [expletive] down.”

The ATF and FBI urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information specifically related to business fires in the Twin Cities can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com. In addition to fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at FBI.gov/violence.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Rochester Police Department, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez. The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendant Information:

MONTEZ TERRILL LEE, 25

Rochester, Minn.

Charges:

  • Arson, 1 count

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: 612-664-5600

St. Paul Field Division