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Three Charlottesville men sentenced in armed robbery attempt

Three Charlottesville men who pleaded guilty to the 2021 attempted armed robbery of an Albemarle County man were sentenced Tuesday in federal court.

Tyreek Saquan Ragland, 23, who organized the robbery plan, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery (taking another person’s property “by means of actual or threatened force,”). He was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison.

Madison Wonne Zelee, 26, and Tyrel Anthony Dowell, 23, each pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Zelee was sentenced to 60 months in prison while Dowell received a sentence of 52 months.

According to court documents, Ragland, Zelee and Dowell targeted the man because they believed he would have a large amount of marijuana and cash at his Albemarle County home.

Zelee knocked on the intended victim’s front door asking about a lost dog on Sept 30, 2021. The intended victim saw Dowell emerging from the woods nearby wearing a ski mask. He refused to open the door. Zelee and Dowell then fled the scene in a car Ragland drove.

The intended victim contacted his father about the incident, and the two searched for the getaway car.

While they looked for the car, a witness, who had remained at the intended victim’s residence, called them to report that a pizza delivery person was at the house trying to deliver a pizza.

No one had ordered a pizza.

The intended victim told the witness not to open the door. The man returned home and saw a car parked near his house that matched Ragland, Zelee and Dowell’s getaway car.

The victim and his father tried to leave, but Zelee and Dowell came out of the nearby woods and began shooting at them, striking their car.

After the gunfire, Zelee and Dowell rejoined Ragland and fled the scene again.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Albemarle County Police Department investigated the case.


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