For Immediate Release
Wabasha County Brothers Plead Guilty to Multiple Violent Home Invasion Robberies, One Resulting in Victim’s Death
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty pleas of LENNIE DWAYNE BROOKS, 33, and RANDY LORENZO BROOKS, 24, to three counts each of interference with commerce by robbery, known as the Hobbs Act. The defendants entered their guilty pleas today before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On May 14, 2019, co-defendants AUTUMN MARIE NICHOLS, 20, and ESPERANZA CARDENAS, 29, each pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery.
United States Attorney Erica MacDonald stated, "These criminals admitted to a string of violent home invasions that ended in the tragic and senseless loss of life. Small business owners should never have to fear for their lives or the safety of their property, especially in their own homes. I commend the collaborative efforts of the many law enforcement agencies involved in this case that led to today’s guilty pleas. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to clearing the streets of violent criminals and ensuring the safety of all Minnesotans."
"We’re satisfied to see these men take responsibility for their actions," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Kirk Howard of the ATF St. Paul Field Division. "The fear they instilled in the lives of small business owners was ruthless, excessive and intolerable. Hopefully, this guilty plea and future sentencing can bring closure to the families and communities affected. I’m proud of the exceptional work put into this investigation, successfully ending the Brooks brothers’ hostile home invasion streak. The strong partnerships with local law enforcement contributed greatly to this accomplishment and we are grateful for their efforts."
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, LENNIE and RANDY BROOKS, on three separate occasions that are chargeable under the Hobbs Act, committed violent home invasion robberies and, in one incident, caused the death of a robbery victim. On October 6, 2018, LENNIE and RANDY BROOKS broke into a private residence located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota while NICHOLS waited in the getaway car. RANDY BROOKS held two victims at gunpoint while LENNIE BROOKS searched the house for money and valuables. During that time, one of the victims went into cardiac arrest, however neither defendant called for medical help nor
was the second victim allowed to call for help. The defendants stole approximately $50,000 in cash, which was the business proceeds of the Shuang Hur Asian Markets located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The defendants admitted that the victim who went into cardiac arrest died as a direct result of the home invasion.
On September 23, 2018, LENNIE and RANDY BROOKS broke into a private residence located in Ellendale, Minnesota while CARDENAS waited in the getaway car. RANDY BROOKS held two victims at gunpoint while LENNIE BROOKS searched the house for money and valuables. The defendants stole approximately $40,000 in cash, which was the business proceeds of the Holland Auction Company located in Ellendale, Minnesota.
On August 16, 2018, LENNIE and RANDY BROOKS broke into a private residence located in Waite Park, Minnesota. RANDY BROOKS held two victims at gunpoint while LENNIE BROOKS searched the house for money and valuables. The defendants stole approximately $180,000 in jewelry and gemstones, which belonged to Trisko Jewelry located in Waite Park, Minnesota.
The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, prohibits actual or attempted robbery affecting interstate or foreign commerce "in any way or degree."
This case is the result of a multi-jurisdictional investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF"), Eden Prairie Police Department, Steele County Sheriff’s Office, Woodbury Police Department, Cottage Grove Police Department, St. Paul Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department, Winona Police Department, Wabasha Police Department, Prior Lake Police Department, Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Team, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, Wabasha County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Olmstead County Sheriff’s Office, Winona County Sheriff’s Office, Waite Park Police Department, Owatonna Police Department, Nisswa Police Department, Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office, Red Wing Police Department, Mason City Police Department, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Albert Lea Police Department. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods ("PSN"), an initiative that brings together federal, state and local law enforcement to combat violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen is prosecuting the case.
LENNIE DWAYNE BROOKS, 33
Zumbro Falls, Minn.
• Interference with Commerce by Robbery, 3 counts
RANDY LORENZO BROOKS, 24
• Interference with Commerce by Robbery, 3 counts
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600