An Orlando man, Rodney Devon Jones, has pleaded guilty to carjacking in the parking garage at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Jones faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison for the carjacking offense, and a minimum mandatory term of 7 years, up to life, imprisonment on the firearm offense.
According to the plea agreement, on September 28, 2021, Jones and two others committed a carjacking in the parking garage at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa. Jones and the two other men jumped out of a stolen Toyota, pointed guns at the victim, and stole his wallet and jewelry. They demanded that the victim identify his car. The victim pointed out an Alfa Romeo. One of the men then used the victim’s car keys to drive off in the Alfa Romeo and the others followed in the Toyota. Two days later, officers from the Orlando Police Department arrested Jones after they found him in the stolen Toyota. The officers recovered a firearm with Jones’s DNA on it near the Toyota.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Seminole Police Department, with assistance from the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, as part of the Middle District of Florida’s Safe Trails Task Force. The Safe Trails Task Force is a partnership between the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Seminole Police Department, and other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement that work to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray.
United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the guilty plea, and a sentencing date has not yet been set.
This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.