KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 21-year-old Kansas City, Kansas woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to stealing a vehicle at gunpoint from a parking garage at the Country Club Plaza last year.
Maricela Delores Lozano pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
By pleading guilty, Lozano admitted that she used a Century Arms Draco AK 47-style 9mm pistol during the theft of a Nissan Altima on July 19, 2020.
Lozano approached the owner of the Altima, who was attempting to start her vehicle to leave the parking garage. Lozano brandished the AK 47-style pistol, pointed it at the victim, and demanded her keys and cell phone. The victim complied and walked away from the vehicle to a nearby business and used their phone to call the police.
Lozano later told investigators that she got into the driver’s seat and attempted to start the vehicle, but the ignition was a “push to start,” which confused Lozano because she had never encountered such technology.
Once Lozano was able to start the vehicle, she drove out of the parking garage. Lozano stole a license plate from a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle and attached it to the Nissan.
Lozano, who was standing beside the stolen vehicle, was spotted by a Missouri State Highway Patrol corporal in a driveway in Fulton, Missouri, on July 21, 2020. When the officer drove toward her, she got into the vehicle and attempted to flee. The officer stopped the vehicle and arrested Lozano and a male passenger. The officer seized the loaded firearm from the floorboard behind the driver’s seat.
Under federal statutes, Lozano is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Kansas City, Missouri Police said they were able to solve more crimes like this last year thanks to federal help as part of Operation LeGend, which was named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest victims during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings in 2020 in the Kansas City area.