Man convicted in attempted carjacking targeted Brazilian residents, DA says

Brazilian convicted
Assistant District Attorney Kenzie Johnson speaks Monday, July 8, during a press conference about the conviction of Jeferson Deandrade.

Prosecutors assembled Monday to discuss the recent conviction of a man they say was responsible for causing havoc within Northeast Philadelphia’s Brazilian American community.

A jury last month found 20-year-old Jeferson Deandrade guilty of attempted robbery, conspiracy and weapons violations related to a February 2022 carjacking in Rhawnhurst. He is also facing separate charges in connection with a shooting in the same neighborhood.

Deandrade and two other masked men surrounded a car that was double-parked near the corner of Castor Avenue and Faunce Street, prosecutors said. The driver, a 17-year-old girl, was dropping off two other teenagers after volunteering at a Valentine’s Day event at their church, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant District Attorney Kenzie Johnson, who prosecuted the case, said Deandrade tapped a gun on the driver’s side window and discharged the firearm, leaving a bullet that was later recovered from the lower section of the door.

“In that moment, the victim told me actually and she told the jury that she prayed and that her God told her to drive,” Johnson said at a Monday morning news conference. “And she did.”

She got away, and detectives were able to recover a large handprint from the car’s window. Analysts later matched the print to Andrade, Johnson said. The attempted carjacking was also captured on video.

Deandrade is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19. His attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.

The other two suspects have not been identified.

In May 2022, the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force apprehended Deandrade in Lock Haven, a town in Central Pennsylvania.

He had an arrest warrant related to an October 2021 shooting that left a Brazilian American man injured on the 7900 block of Horrocks Street. Deandrade was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and a host of other crimes. Court documents indicate the case is still pending.

This image shows a fingerprint analysis conducted by investigators and introduced during the trial of Jeferson Deandrade.PROVIDED / PHILADELPHIA DA’S OFFICE

District Attorney Larry Krasner said Deandrade, who was born in Brazil, and a small group of other criminals contributed to a spike in carjackings and gunpoint robberies in 2022 targeting Portuguese-speaking residents, many of whom live along the Castor Avenue corridor.

“A lot of these actually stopped and dropped off after this particular defendant was arrested,” Johnson said.

Though the teenage driver is a Brazilian American U.S. citizen, authorities believe the suspects may have been trying to victimize undocumented immigrants, who are less likely to report crimes to the police, Krasner said.

Overall, armed robberies are down about 42% compared to the same point last year, and reports of stolen cars have dropped 40%, according to Philadelphia Police Department data.