Two Minneapolis men who led a violent carjacking ring that targeted rideshare drivers were charged in a 20-count indictment unsealed this week.
“As alleged, these two defendants led a carjacking ring that engaged in a series of violent, premeditated acts against Uber and Lyft drivers,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said when announcing the indictment.
According to the indictment, 18-year-old Shevirio Kavirion Childs-Young and 20-year-old William Charles Saffold lured their victims to “a particular location” using the Uber and Lyft apps.
“When the victim-driver arrived, members of the conspiracy would brandish firearms and demand the cell phone and wallet of the victim-driver. Members of the conspiracy would typically force the victim-driver at gunpoint to unlock his or her cell phone, and to provide passcodes that would and did allow members of the conspiracy to transfer money by phone applications (such as Cash App) from the victim-driver’s account to the accounts of members of the conspiracy,” the indictment says.
It goes on to accuse the criminals of pistol-whipping their victims and threatening to kill them before stealing their cars.
Childs-Young and Saffold are charged with conspiracy, brandishing firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, aiding and abetting carjacking, and aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery.
Childs-Young is currently in state custody on separate charges. He went missing in January after Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu granted him temporary release to attend a family member’s funeral.
Nearly a month later, he attempted to flee from police after they located his vehicle in north Minneapolis. He had an infant and handgun magazines in his car when he attempted to make his escape.
Court documents describe Childs-Young as a violent offender with a “lengthy juvenile delinquency history involving assault and weapons offenses.”
The exact nature of his juvenile criminal history is unknown because these records are private in Minnesota, but he was reportedly involved in a violent assault and kidnapping.
Saffold made his first court appearance Thursday. The two men are accused of carrying out their crime spree between September and October, about the same time rideshare drivers in Minneapolis reported an increase in carjackings.
The indictment suggests that others were involved in the conspiracy and could be charged soon.