Guilty plea in 2020 Jennings auto parts armed robbery

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man appeared in federal court on Wednesday and admitted robbing a Jennings auto parts store and crashing into a funeral procession while trying to avoid arrest by police.

Prosecutors for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Diven Steed and co-defendant Collis Lee robbed the O’Reilly auto parts store at 8945 Jennings Station Road on the morning of December 5, 2020.

Steed carried a Pioneer Arms “Hellpup” AK-47 pistol during the robbery. Lee was also armed.

According to Steed’s plea agreement, Lee pistol-whipped one employee and the other offered the robbers his own money to distract them. When the employees told the robbers they couldn’t open the time lock safe, Lee hit the injured employee with the pistol again.

While Steed and Lee focused on the employees, a customer slipped out of the store and asked people from another business to call 911.

As Steed and Lee exited the auto parts store, witnesses identified them when police had already arrived. Lee and Steed sped off and attempted to flee, but they crashed into a limousine in a three-car funeral procession. Five people in the limousine were injured.

Steed and Lee abandoned their car and ran away while officers tried to catch them.

Lee was caught with two handguns in his possession and arrested. Meanwhile, Steed ran through the neighborhood, ignoring officers’ orders to drop his gun. On one occasion, an officer shot Steed twice, hitting him in the buttocks.

Steed, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and brandished a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. He will be sentenced on November 16. The robbery charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, while the gun possession charge carries a mandatory seven-year sentence, served after any other charge.

Lee, 25, pleaded guilty to the same charges in December 2021 and was sentenced to 11 years and three months in federal prison in March 2022. Guilty plea in 2020 Jennings auto parts armed robbery

Sarah Y. Kim

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