UPDATE — The Sheriff's Office says four people were arrested in connection to a strong armed robbery that took place on Sunday.
They say the victim arranged to meet someone on the 'Let Go' app to buy an iPhone. According to the sheriff's office, 19-year-old Brandon Reddish pepper sprayed and hit the victim in the face repeatedly during the transaction. The victim handed Reddish $400 for the phone, then he tried to steal the phone back, according to the sheriff's office.
Then Reddish ran from the scene in a gold Buick sedan. The sheriff's office says 18-year-old Taylor Henderson was the person who listed the phone as for sale on the app. Witness reported seeing a female matching Henderson's description in the same vehicle, counting cash as they drove from the scene.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as 18-year-old Marvin Jones. Another person, 18-year-old Jordan Jackson was also a passenger in the vehicle, the sheriff's office says. Jackson is Henderson's boyfriend, according to authorities.
Henderson, Jones and Jackson are all charged with principle to armed robbery. Henderson and Jones were arrested Tuesday and are both being held with no bond. Jackson is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Reddish is charged with armed robbery, displaying a weapon during the commission of a felony and battery. He was also arrested Tuesday and is being held without bond.
“This was an extremely scary situation for the victim in this case who ultimately did the right thing by conducting the transaction in a public place,” Sheriff Tom Knight said. “We are relieved the victim was not more seriously injured and grateful there were witnesses who helped piece together a timeline of events which put these four people behind bars. It is a sad day when defendants who are this young decide to take advantage of someone and end up with a felony charge on their record.”
SARASOTA, Fla. — A man was robbed and beaten in a busy Sarasota parking lot after he tried to buy an iPhone from a seller he spoke to online.
It happened less than a half mile away from the Saraosta County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday. They say the victim chose a busy and very public place, off Cattlemen road near I-75. While that's good, they say the buyer still tried to take advantage of the situation.
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"No matter how good a deal may seem, trust your gut,” said Lt. Mike Dumer.
Deputies say the two men met and money was exchanged, but then they say the seller snatched the iPhone back. He battered the man then ran away.
"I wouldn’t try to do something like that on my own. Definitely need to have back up,” said Natasha Knoeckel, who just had coffee at the Starbucks nearby.
She and her friend Tonya King are shocked someone would do that in such a busy area.
"We want to assume that people have good intentions and that we can trust them, but just to keep in mind that sometimes we need to be more careful,” said King.
Deputies say the only thing they’d suggest to do differently — meet up in their parking lot for that added layer of security. They say their visitor spots are just feet away from the front door.
"We have parking spaces available for the general public and would encourage people that if they would like to use this area to do these types of transactions, it’s certainly available to them at any time,” said Lt. Dumer.
They also say if someone doesn't want to meet you in their parking lot, that should be a big red flag.
Witnesses tell deputies the suspect is a black man, about 20-years-old with a tall, skinny build and short hair. They say he was wearing a white t-shirt and black joggers. He took off in a beige 4-door sedan.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), online.