U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
January 16, 2013
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
Minneapolis Man Indicted for Armed Robbery of Three Convenience Stores and a Jimmy John's
MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier today in federal court, a 26–year–old Minneapolis man was indicted in connection with the armed robbery of three Twin–Cities area convenience stores and on two separate occasions, the same Jimmy John’s sandwich shop. Derrel Johon Pruitt was charged with five counts of interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act, five counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of possession of an unregistered firearm.
The indictment alleges that on five occasions, Pruitt stole money from the businesses while brandishing a sawed-off shotgun: On October 13, 2011, he allegedly robbed the Quick Stop store in South St. Paul; on October 22, 2011, he allegedly robbed the Stop N’ Go store in Minneapolis; on November 18, 2011, he allegedly robbed the Jimmy John’s in Minneapolis; on November 24, 2011, he allegedly robbed the Holiday store in Inver Grove Heights; and on December 2, 2011, he allegedly robbed the same Jimmy John’s in Minneapolis.
In addition, on December 5, 2011, Pruitt possessed the shotgun, which had a barrel length of less than 18 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches. The firearm was not registered to Pruitt in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law.
As stated, Pruitt was charged in federal court under the Hobbs Act, which was passed by Congress in 1946. The Act allows federal prosecutors to prosecute violent habitual criminals who commit armed robberies in places of business that involve interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of these cases is sometimes beneficial since federal penalties are often tougher than those imposed under state law. Moreover, because the federal system has no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually their entire prison terms behind bars.
If convicted, Pruitt faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count of violating the Hobbs Act, ten years for possession of an unregistered firearm, and a mandatory minimum of seven years on each count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The potential maximum penalty on those counts is life in prison. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the police departments of Inver Grove Heights, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and South St. Paul. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie E. Allyn and Amber Brennan.