ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man appeared in federal court Wednesday and admitted to robbing a Jennings auto parts store and crashing into a funeral procession while trying to evade capture by police.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Diven Steed and co-defendant Collis Lee robbed the O’Reilly Auto Parts Store, located at 8945 Jennings Station Road, on the morning of Dec. 5, 2020.
Steed was carrying a Pioneer Arms “Hellpup” AK-47-style pistol during the robbery. Lee was also armed.
According to Steed’s plea agreement, Lee pistol-whipped one clerk and the other clerk offered the robbers his own money to distract them. When the clerks told the robbers they could not open the time-locked safe, Lee again pistol-whipped the injured clerk.
While Steed and Lee were focused on the employees, a customer slipped out of the store and asked people at another business to call 911.
When Steed and Lee left the auto parts store, witnesses identified them to police, who had already arrived. Lee and Steed sped off and attempted to escape but they crashed into a limousine in a three-car funeral procession. Five people in the limo were injured.
Steed and Lee ditched their car and took off running with officers trying to catch them.
Lee was caught and arrested with two handguns in his possession. Meanwhile, Steed ran through the neighborhood, ignoring officers’ orders to drop his gun. At one point, an officer fired twice at Steed, striking him in the buttocks.
Steed, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. He’ll be sentenced on November 16. The robbery charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison while the gun charge carries a mandatory seven-year prison term served consecutive to any other charge.
Lee, 25, pleaded guilty to the same charges in December 2021 and was sentenced in March 2022 to 11 years and three months in federal prison.