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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Totten: Michigan "inside job was a foolish endeavor" resulting in felony charges

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Three Michigan men pleaded guilty for their roles in staging the armed robbery of a courier van carrying more than $1.2 million.

Paschal Osinachi Uchendu, 27, of Mason; Stephen Ikechuwku Uchendu, 21, of Mason; and Todd Lamonte Harris, Jr., 20, of Grand Rapids, were charged Sept. 21 in felony information, according to a Nov. 2 U.S. Department of Justice news release. All three face up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and fines totaling more than $250,000.

“This inside job was a foolish endeavor that earned these young men serious felony charges and federal criminal records,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said in the release. “I commend law enforcement for quickly solving this crime through a thorough and effective investigation.”

Paschal Uchendu organized a staged armed robbery of the van he was driving on Feb. 15, the release reported. Harris and Stephen Uchendu followed the van in a separate vehicle and faked a car accident in Okemos. Harris engaged Paschal Uchendu, who exited the van, while Stephen Uchendu entered the passenger side of the van with an unloaded AR-15 rifle. Pascal Uchendu drove the van to another location and unlocked the vault for Stephen Uchendy and Harris.

The men collectively stole approximately $1,244,483, including money belonging to a local financial institution, according to the release. Stephen Uchendu and Harris each received $25,000 for their role in the crime. After being contacted by law enforcement officers, Harris, alongside Stephen Uchendu, left Michigan and took a portion of their stolen money to Georgia. More than $700,000 remains missing.

Paschal Uchendu pleaded guilty to bank larceny on Oct. 12, the release reported. Stephen Uchendu and Harris pleaded guilty to the interstate transportation of stolen property on Sept. 28 and Nov. 2, respectively. Stephen Uchendu's sentencing is March 7, Paschal Uchendu's sentencing is March 8, and Harris' sentencing date has yet to be determined.

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