Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 30, 2012

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

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

Fridley Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery of Columbia Heights Convenience Store

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier today in federal court, a 35–year–old Fridley man pleaded guilty to using a .38–caliber pistol on March 11, 2011 to rob the Totem Superette in Columbia Heights. Jimmy Earl Matthews pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Matthews, who was indicted on May 11, 2011, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen.

In his plea agreement, Matthews admitted that on March 11, he and another individual drove to the store in Matthews’s car. While the other person remained in the car, Matthews admittedly entered the store, concealed his face with a blue bandanna, brandished the gun at the clerk, and demanded money. After receiving cash, Matthews fled, attempting to return to his car. However, Matthews encountered the police, dropped the gun behind his car, and ran, ultimately attempting to hide the cash in a snow bank. Following a short pursuit, Matthews was apprehended. Officers recovered the gun, the bandanna, and approximately $146.

For his crime, Matthews faces a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years in prison, with a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. Judge Ericksen will determine his sentence at a future hearing.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Columbia Heights Police Department, the Fridley Police Department, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Anoka County Crime Lab. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol M. Kayser.