BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett today sentenced Michael Wedington, Jr., age 21, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 14 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for the federal charge of kidnapping related to his role in the armed carjackings of two victims in June 2019.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Acting Special Agent in Charge Rachel Byrd of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, Wedington participated in the armed carjackings of two different victims that occurred on June 8 and June 10, 2019, respectively. In each instance, the victim was intending to purchase tools as part of a purported transaction that Wedington set up through a cellular phone-based application, “OfferUp,” which allows sellers to post advertisements of personal property for sale. Through the OfferUp application, the buyer can then directly contact the seller and arrange to buy the property. When the victims arrived at the designated meeting spot, they were robbed at gunpoint by Wedington and his co-conspirators, who also stole their vehicles. In each instance, investigators were able to link the seller’s OfferUp account in the name of “Brian” to Michael Wedington, through Wedington’s phone number and other information.
In the carjacking on June 8, 2019, the victim arrived in the area of Washington Boulevard and South Monroe Street in Baltimore and was directed to the 2400 block of West Lexington Street. Upon arriving, the victim was waved down and approached by Wedington and two other men. At first the men appeared to load the victim’s van with the tools they were purportedly selling. However, one suspect, armed with a handgun, then forced the victim into the rear of his vehicle. Wedington and his accomplices stole the victim’s wallet and cash, a driver’s license, debit card, and the victim’s cellular phone. As they drove away, one suspect shoved a handgun in the victim’s mouth and demanded the Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the victim’s debit card. The suspects drove to a gas station in Northwest Baltimore with the victim still in the van, and one of the suspects used the PIN the victim had provided to obtain cash from an ATM. The victim escaped from the van in the area of the 7000 block of Park Heights Avenue and fled on foot, later calling the Baltimore Police Department to report the incident. The stolen vehicle was recovered five days later in the area of the 2700 block of Tivoly Avenue in Baltimore.
In the second carjacking on June 10, 2019, the victim was lured to the 2400 block of West Lexington Street through the OfferUp application by a user who was purportedly selling tools and equipment. When the victim arrived, he was directed to the back alley behind West Fayette Street, where Wedington and another individual approached him—both armed with handguns. The two men took the victim’s wallet, containing more than $1,000 in cash, the victim’s two cell phones, and the victim’s Toyota vehicle.
Wedington was identified in a photo array, and Wedington’s fingerprint was recovered from the van stolen in the second carjacking. On November 1, 2019, a federal search warrant was executed at Wedington’s primary residence, which is located near the scenes of the two carjackings, and law enforcement recovered a Toyota car key, a firearm, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, replica firearms, and cellular phones. Agents obtained a search warrant for Wedington’s cell phone, which revealed, among other things, that Wedington used the OfferUp application and the “Brian” account to communicate with the first victim’s friend and orchestrate the June 8, 2019 set up of the carjacking. Agents also found various photos and videos showing Wedington posing with or using firearms.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended FBI and BPD for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew DellaBetta and Daniel A. Loveland, Jr., who prosecuted the case.