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Two D.C. Men Plead Guilty to Using COVID Mask to Blindfold One Victim, Zip Ties to Restrain Another During Gunpoint Kidnappings That Netted ATM Cards and Cash

Nathan Coleman and Taheed Ebron are seen with an ATM card and cash in hand after a now-admitted Aug. 24, 2021 kidnapping. (Images via surveillance footage released by the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.)

Nathan Coleman and Taheed Ebron are seen with an ATM card and cash in hand after a now-admitted Aug. 24, 2021 kidnapping. (Images via surveillance footage released by the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.)

Two Washington, D.C. men have pleaded guilty to “kidnapping two men at gunpoint” and “using blindfolds and zip ties to restrain their victims,” the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Friday.

Taheed Ebron, 21, and Nathan Coleman, 29, both of D.C., committed the crimes over a five-day period in August 2021, prosecutors said.

Both Ebron and Coleman pleaded guilty to two counts of armed kidnapping, according to court documents. Additionally, Ebron admitted carrying a pistol without a license in a separate firearm case.

“The guilty pleas are contingent upon the Court’s approval,” the DOJ press release said. “Ebron’s plea calls for an agreed-upon sentence of 10 to 12 years in prison, and Coleman’s plea calls for eight to 10 years in prison.”

D.C. police last August released surveillance and ATM images which purported to show the defendants with the fruits of their then-alleged crime spree — cash and ATM cards — in-hand.   When the police announced the arrests, officers indicated that an unnamed 14-year-old juvenile was also involved.

A copy of a plea form obtained and reviewed by Law&Crime said both men would need to plead guilty in order for the agreements to take effect as to either. As is standard practice, the government agreed to dismiss a variety of other charges in return for the plea agreements.

The complete factual proffers filed in court on Friday are not yet available on a public database, but the DOJ summarized the allegations as follows:

According to the government’s evidence, on Aug. 24, 2021, at approximately 10:45 p.m., Ebron, Coleman, and a third perpetrator kidnapped a man at gunpoint while he was walking home in the 1300 block of Corcoran Street NW. The defendants pulled the man’s COVID face mask over his eyes as a blindfold and forced him into the rear of Ebron’s silver Nissan Rogue SUV. They demanded that he turn over his cellphone, credit and debit cards, and personal identification numbers (PINs). The defendants then drove the man to multiple ATM locations and used his financial cards to withdraw more than $1,400 from his accounts. They also used the man’s cards and cellphone to make a series of purchases and transactions, including a $1,200 PayPal transfer. Ebron, Coleman, and the third perpetrator eventually released the man from the SUV, forcing him to lay face down on the ground in an alley before driving away.

Police released video of the suspects as follows:

The next incident went down like this, according to the DOJ:

Just days later, on Aug. 28, 2021, at approximately 3:45 a.m., Ebron, Coleman, and a third perpetrator kidnapped another man at gunpoint near the intersection of 13th and E Streets NE while he was riding an electric scooter on the way to work. After seeing the man, Ebron parked his silver Nissan Rogue SUV in the intersection, and Ebron, Coleman, and the third perpetrator exited the vehicle. The defendants ran toward the man and caught and threw him to the ground. They then hooded him using a drawstring bag and restrained his hands with zip ties that Ebron and Coleman had purchased the previous day. The defendants forced the man into the SUV and demanded his wallet, cellphone, and PINs. They drove him to an ATM and withdrew more than $1,000 from his bank account. Ebron, Coleman, and the third perpetrator eventually released the man from the vehicle, instructing him to run straight ahead and not look back or else be shot. The defendants then used his debit card to make a series of purchases and withdrawals.

Coleman was arrested on Sept. 6, 2021; Ebron was nabbed on Sept. 7, 2021, the police and the DOJ both said.

According to court documents, the police caught up with Ebron because an OnStar alert showed that a carjacked vehicle “had been tracked and showing as being stationary” in a location to which the police were dispatched.  The narrative continued:

Once on the scene Officer Morales located and identified the vehicle in question through the SD dispatcher as the vehicle taken in the carjacking. Officer Morales observed that the vehicle was occupied by two individuals. Officer Morales called for additional units to respond to assist. Officer Morales with the assistance of Officer Rodriguez had the two subjects exit the vehicle while conducting their initial investigation. As Officer Morales removed defendant Ebiron [sic], who was the front seat passenger, and began to place him into handcuffs, Officer Rodriguez alerted Officer Morales that he observed a handgun on the defendant which was located to the small of the back. Officer Morales maintained control of the defendant as Officer Rodriquez recovered and seized the handgun, which he then handed off to Officer Morales. Recovered was one (1) Bersa Thunder .380 semi-automatic, bearing Serial Number B03439. The weapon was not chambered, but the magazine was loaded into the well of the handgun and contained five (5) rounds of ammunition. The weapon appeared to be functional.

Sentencing before Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz is scheduled on June 24, 2022.

Read some of the case file below:

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.