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Rochester man gets decade in federal prison for arson during George Floyd riots

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Rochester man pleads guilty to arson during George Floyd riots

Montez Lee Jr.

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A Rochester man who burned down a Minneapolis pawn shop during the George Floyd riots is going to federal prison.

Montez Terrial Lee Jr., 26, pleaded guilty to one count of arson and was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to 10 years behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the State of Minnesota says Lee, along with others, broke into the Max It Pawn Shop on East Lake Street in Minneapolis on May 28, 2020.  Surveillance video showed Lee pouring a fire accelerant around the pawn shop and lighting the accelerant on fire.  The fire destroyed the building.  Investigators found a second video which showed Lee standing in front of the burning pawn shop and Lee could be heard saying, “[expletive] this place. We’re gonna burn this [expletive] down.”

The body of a 30-year-old man was found in the ruble of the Max It Pawn building on July 20, 2020.  The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the man’s death to “probable inhalation of products of combustion and thermal injury (building fire).”

This case was investigated jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Rochester Police Department, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.

Rochester man pleads guilty to arson during George Floyd riots

Image of man authorities claim in Montez Lee, standing in front of burning pawn shop.

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