By WCCO-TV Staff

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Two men face federal criminal charges for their alleged role in an armed carjacking at Rosedale Center in February.

Leon Kismit Bell, 48, was charged with one count of carjacking, while Jack Mitchell Piche, 22, was charged with aiding and abetting a carjacking.

From left to right: Leon Bell, Jack Piche (Credit: U.S. Department of Justice)

The charges come two days after U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced a crackdown on violent carjackings in Minnesota. Last year, Minneapolis saw over 650 carjackings, while St. Paul experienced more than 100. Anyone 18 years and older involved in violent carjackings in the state will face federal charges that carry stiffer sentences, Luger said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bell and Piche were walking around the Rosedale Center parking lot on Feb. 16 and followed a car, waiting for it to park. The driver, a 67-year-old woman, got out of her car, and the two approached her.

Bell allegedly flashed his gun and demanded her keys. She handed over her purse and ran away. Bell then got in her car and drove to pick up Piche, who was several rows away in the parking lot, the DOJ says.

Roseville police then tracked the car down south on Interstate 35W, but due to safety concerns, stopped their pursuit. Officers arrested Piche in south Minneapolis; the stolen car was nearby.

Bell was arrested on Tuesday. The two are currently in custody.

Luger’s office can only prosecute adults 18 and older but he said he hopes the crackdown sends a warning to minors.

“This plague of violence cannot continue,” he said on Tuesday. “We cannot normalize shootings, carjackings and other instances as part of our daily lives. It is causing far too much fear, too much pain and too much heartbreak for families and our community.”