Charlotte man sentenced to 22 years in prison for carjacking, crashing stolen vehicle with baby in the car seat

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A Charlotte man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for carjacking and related firearms offenses after he stole a vehicle with a child in the car seat, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

Maurice Rakestraw, 31, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to carjacking, possession and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, possession of a firearm by a felon, and stealing a firearm in Nov. 2020.

According to court documents, on December 5, 2019, Rakestraw was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by CMPD officers. During the traffic stop, Rakestraw got out of the vehicle and ran away.

During his attempted escape from police, Rakestraw came across a vehicle in the parking lot of a local apartment complex. Court documents state that Rakestraw approached two adults inside the vehicle, pointed a firearm at one of them, and threatened to kill him if he did not give him the car.

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Police said Rakestraw sped off in the stolen vehicle with the victims’ baby still secured in the car seat. About six minutes later, Rakestraw crashed the stolen vehicle into a trailer being pulled by a truck and flipped the vehicle onto its roof. 

According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Rakestraw crawled out of the car and ran away from the crash scene, leaving the baby in the overturned vehicle. The driver of the truck was able to pry the vehicle’s door open and remove the baby from the car seat.

According to court documents, CMPD officers encountered Rakestraw shortly after, walking along a sidewalk. A CMPD officer attempted to take Rakestraw into custody but Rakestraw fled into nearby woods.


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Rakestraw was apprehended after he was located in the schoolyard of Merry Oaks International Elementary. Officers also located Rakestraw’s firearm nearby in the woods. During the investigation, law enforcement determined that Rakestraw had stolen the firearm during a domestic violence assault two days before.

Following his sentencing this month, Rakestraw was transferred to an unknown federal facility.

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