CLEVELAND – Three men are facing charges for carjacking a limousine at gunpoint and then live streaming their joyride on Facebook.
Arrest warrants were issued Monday for Jesse Varner, 18, and Ty’Juan Philpot, 18. Norman Henry, 19, was arrested on an aggravated robbery charge.
The robbery happened Oct. 6. Limousine driver Brandon Lynch, 19, said he drove a group from New Philadelphia to Progressive Field for the Indians’ first ALDS game against the Boston Red Sox. While waiting for the game to end, Lynch went to the McDonald’s at Carnegie Avenue and East 30th Street, according to a police report.
“That was my first time being in Cleveland, so I don’t know where anything is or what’s bad or anything,” Lunch said.
Lynch, a National Guardsman, said he was sitting on the curb outside his limo when the suspects approached him on bicycles demanding that he drive them through the drive-thru.
“I kind of just thought it was a joke because they looked young,” Lynch said. “So I was just laughing about it a little bit. And I was like I really can’t take you guys through the limo in a drive-thru at all or in the limo in general.”
That’s when the men attacked him at gunpoint, choking and punching him, according to a police report. Lynch fought back, poking one of the men in the eye, but they were able to steal the limousine, police said.
Lynch said he suffered a concussion.
“It was pretty frightening. I wasn’t prepared for anything like that, even with basic training and getting prepared for war, so to speak. It’s one of those things that caught you off guard,” he said.
The suspects also stole valuables inside the limo, including Lynch’s wallet with credit cards and identification, cell phone and $340 cash, a police report said.
The next day, Varner posted a live video on Facebook showing the trio taking the limo for a ride. Police said they later crashed it near Central Avenue and East 35th Street.
John Passio, owner of Glow Limousines, said there was damage to the left side panel, rear door and back bumper.
“They must’ve hit some pole in the back,” he said. “It is salvageable.”
Varner, Philpot and Henry all have criminal records. Varner failed to appear in court on Wednesday for a hearing related to a previous charge of carrying concealed weapons, to which he has pleaded guilty.