Three suspects carjacked and kidnapped a random man, holding him for hours in an abandoned Minneapolis gas station as they beat him and demanded money — a nightmarish ordeal that ended with a quick-thinking escape after one of the culprits suddenly died.
That’s according to criminal charges filed Wednesday against Desmond Graham, which detail the string of crimes that began in downtown Minneapolis the evening of March 10. Police arrested the 31-year-old Monday, and he remains in Hennepin County Jail ahead of a Thursday court appearance.
The trio demanded money from the victim, beating him with a screwdriver and hammer when he initially said he didn’t have any, then tying him to a left-behind piece of furniture, according to the criminal charges. Scared for his life, the victim eventually gave up his banking information and, three times over the course of the night into the next day, money was withdrawn from his bank account.
The victim suffered numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises across his body, as well as a broken nose.
The charges also tie in to the dead body found in an abandoned business on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue earlier this month. The complaint identifies the individual as Larry Mosby, one of the men believed to be behind the carjacking, kidnapping and beating.
Mosby died March 11, as he and Graham drove around the city with the victim in tow and did drugs in the car, according to the charges. Mosby suddenly lost consciousness and Graham tried to revive his colleague by beating him, but it didn’t work, the charges allege. So he drove back to the old gas station, poured alcohol on Mosby and lit him on fire in another unsuccessful attempt to wake him.
After that didn’t work, he extinguished the flames, poured alcohol on Mosby and, ultimately, decided to flee the scene, ushering the kidnapping victim with him, according to the complaint.
It was during this time, as Graham looked for his own car keys, the victim managed to escape, running first to a woman on the street then, with Graham giving chase, into a nearby grocery store. The employees there, who knew Graham, called 911, the charges state.
The specific location of the abandoned gas station isn’t made clear, but the only one on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South is the former Speedway at 38th and Chicago, otherwise known as George Floyd Square.
Graham of Minneapolis, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated first-degree robbery, third-degree assault and bank card fraud, all felonies.
Details from the charges
Here’s a look at some of the details from the charges against Graham:
The victim, a man, was is in downtown Minneapolis the evening of March 10 to meet a colleague. While driving he stopped and got out of his car because it was making a weird noise, at which point Graham and two others (including Mosby) forced him into the backseat, took his keys and drove him to an abandoned gas station on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.
In the gas station, Graham and the others demanded money. The victim said he had none, and they hit him with a hammer and screwdriver. The victim tried to escape but was dragged back in, knelt down and bound to a piece of furniture. Mosby then kicked and punched him.
Scared he’d be killed, the man gave his banking info to the trio. The unidentified third accomplice went to an ATM and took $1,000 out of the victim’s account at 1:24 a.m. on March 11. Graham and Mosby refused to let the man go, saying they wanted to get more money. About 90 minutes later Graham left, and bank records show another $1,000 withdrawal at 2:48 a.m., with surveillance video showing Graham driving the victim’s car. Graham then went back to the gas station.
Later that morning they took the victim to a nearby bank and ordered him to withdraw money, promising to finally let him go. Mosby went with, and they put the victim in a hat and mask to hide his injuries. He took out $1,000 and gave it to Mosby. They did not release him as promised.
Instead, Graham and Mosby drove around Minneapolis using drugs. At one point, Mosby lost consciousness. Graham tried to revive him by beating him while still in the car, but the accomplice didn’t come to. They went back to the abandoned gas station and inside, Graham poured alcohol on Mosby and lit him on fire to try to wake him up. It didn’t work so Graham extinguished the flames and poured more alcohol on Mosby. He remained unresponsive.
Graham grabbed the victim and walked out of the gas station. Graham was looking for the keys to his own car when the victim saw a chance. He ran toward a woman on the street, but Graham took after him, so the victim ran into a grocery store, where employees saw Graham chasing after the victim and called 911.
The victim later identified Graham in a photographic lineup.
Minneapolis police officers located Graham on March 28 and arrested him. He was driving his car and wearing the same jacket seen in in surveillance video when taking money from the victim’s bank account.
Graham initially told investigators he wasn’t involved and hadn’t been to the 37th and Chicago area in a month, when he was fired from the same grocery store the victim had run into. Graham told investigators a story about partying downtown, meeting the victim in a parking lot, an afterparty near 37th and Chicago, and then returning to the gas station to see Mosby had died from an overdose.
When officers left the interview room, Graham ripped the panic button and thermostat off the wall, then pulled out a pill, crushed it up and snorted it. When confronted, he said he didn’t do it, then and crushed the rest of the pill in the carpet.
Graham has prior convictions for aggravated first-degree robbery in 2010 and 2014, and is currently facing first-degree aggravated robbery charges in Ramsey County.