INDIANAPOLIS — Three suspects are behind bars accused of arranging a series of armed robberies in Indianapolis using Facebook.
IMPD claims the suspects were arrested after they arranged to meet with members of the department’s covert robbery team for a sale this week.
The crime spree started in mid-August, IMPD said, when two men showed up at the Blackburn Terrace apartment complex after arranging to meet a stranger to buy a Playstation 5. Instead, the two victims had their money stolen by an armed thief.
Three weeks later, a third man came to the Warren Harbor apartments near 21st Street and Post Road and fell victim to the same crime.
That was followed by a fourth victim a week later at the same complex and then a fifth victim last week.
Court records claim IMPD robbery detectives noticed that trend and set up a sting that resulted in the arrest of 19-year-old William Redic, 21-year-old Devarjay Wilson and 20-year-old Jaquan Vaden.
Police say all the crimes were coordinated using Facebook Marketplace and officers are once again urging caution to anyone engaging in online sales.
“When you’re exchanging these items, go to a safe zone,” said IMPD Sgt. Genae Cook. “Be cautious of everything around you.”
In fact, in recent years IMPD set up e-commerce safe zones at each of their six district headquarters buildings.
In the case at Blackburn Terrace, one of the suspects allegedly used the name of a famous rapper as their online profile and refused to meet at a police station. Both should have been red flags for the victims, IMPD said.
“When people come across these, they have to do their best to research the person they’re buying the property from,” said Cook.
That warning is also timely because police say online sales and robberies typically increase at the end of the year during the holiday season.
“You know, this time of year it gets more problematic with robberies, so be cautious,” Cook said. “Go into these meetings with open eyes.”
While the affidavit makes clear not all three suspects took part in every robbery, police do believe all three engaged in the crime spree together.
All three suspects remain behind bars and each is being held on a $100,000 bond.