MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of two Speedway gas stations and a Super 8 Hotel, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats.
According to court documents, on February 4, 2020, Keanu Dewone Ross, 30, entered a Speedway gas station in Columbia Heights, pulled what appeared to be a firearm, and demanded cash from the register and the safe. Ross stole $140 in cash, various tobacco products, and several lottery tickets, before fleeing the scene in a waiting vehicle parked several blocks away with his co-defendant, Antoinette Deniece Mae Dobyne, 30. On February 12, 2020, Ross entered a Speedway in Fridley, pulled what appeared to be a firearm, and demanded cash from the register. Ross ordered the employee to the ground and kicked the employee in the face. Ross left the store with more than $700 in cash, tobacco products, and lottery tickets. On three separate days in February, surveillance camera footage showed Ross and Dobyne cashing some of the stolen lottery tickets at two different gas stations.
According to court documents, on February 14, 2020, Ross and another man were driven to the area of the Super 8 Hotel in Brooklyn Center by Dobyne in her SUV. The men entered the hotel and ordered a hotel employee to the ground at gunpoint. Ross and the other man took the employee’s cell phone and car keys, and over $550 cash from the business. The men then told the employee to run from the scene. As the employee fled on foot, he heard multiple gunshots. Officers recovered a discharged cartridge casing at the scene of the robbery. Surveillance camera footage showed the two men committing the robbery as described by the employee. The footage also showed the two men running from the hotel toward an SUV and then fleeing on foot after the SUV got stuck in a snowbank. BCPD officers located Dobyne in the SUV. A warrant-authorized search of the SUV revealed Ross’s wallet and identification, and a black duffle bag full of various tobacco products.
According to court documents, later that same day, Ross was detained during a traffic stop by officers with the Minneapolis Police Department. Officers confiscated a Taurus Model PT738 .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol that was found on Ross’s person. Subsequent forensic ballistics analysis using the discharged cartridge casing recovered at the scene of the robbery revealed that the confiscated firearm was the same one that was fired at the Super 8 Hotel.
Ross pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge David S. Doty to three counts of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. On October 25, 2021, Dobyne pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery. Sentencing hearings for the defendants will be scheduled at a later date.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Brooklyn Center Police Department, the Columbia Heights Police Department, and the Fridley Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar is prosecuting the case.