MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 26-year-old Rochester man pleaded guilty on Thursday to setting a Minneapolis pawn shop on fire during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd last May.
The U.S. Department of Justice said he pleaded guilty to arson.
According to his guilty plea, Montez Lee was one of several people to break into Max It Pawn Shop on East Lake Street on May 28, 2020. A video showed him as he poured fire accelerant around the pawn shop before lighting it on fire.
A second video showed Lee – masked and shirtless – standing in front of the burning pawn shop saying, “F– this place. We’re gonna burn this b– down.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office said it received the videos anonymously a few days later. Rochester police then helped the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determine Lee’s identity. Lee and one of his associates had posted the video on to Facebook.
The Max It Pawn Shop was one of a number of businesses that burned following Floyd’s murder. Last July, a dead body was found in the wreckage of the pawn shop.