Craigslist deal gone bad: Two charged in armed robbery, pistol whipping of woman

News-DemocratSeptember 4, 2013 

AP GRAPHICS BANK

An East St. Louis man and a juvenile have been charged in relation to a robbery near Belleville during which a female victim was pistol whipped.

Trevon M. Yates, 17, of 2220 Gaty Ave., and a 16-year-old male who was not identified because he is a juvenile, were each charged with one Class X felony count of armed robbery, according to St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Lt. Scott Weymouth.

Weymouth said the suspects met Aug. 12 with a woman who responded to their post which offered an iPhone for sale on the Craigslist classified advertising website. They directed her to the 200 block of Bradford Place where they were to meet at 9 p.m. to make the transaction.

The woman, along with her boyfriend, were approached from behind by the suspects who asked for the money for the phone, Weymouth said. When the victim produced the cash, one of the suspects pulled out a black handgun and demanded all of the couple's money and their cell phones.

He reached through an open car window and struck the female victim in the head with the handgun. The subjects took the couple's money, and a cell phone and left the area on foot, according to the sheriff's department report.

Sheriff Richard Watson attributed the case being solved to good, old-fashioned police work.

"Boots on the ground," Watson said when asked how the robbers were found. "We talked to a lot of people and were able to get a some leads. Then we showed the victims some photos. It came together and we were able to pick (the suspects) up at their houses."

While the case ended in a positive way, things could have easily been much worse, Watson said.

"People need to use some caution," Watson said. "Let's face it, criminals are out there looking for opportunities. People selling things need to be careful not to make themselves victims. These people could have been shot."

Watson said whenever meeting someone you don't know to conduct a transaction people should meet in a public, well-lit area.

"The fact that they were supposed to go somewhere and meet on a dark street at night should have been the first alarm bell," Watson said.

Yates' bail was set at $500,000. He is in custody at the St. Clair County Jail. The juvenile suspect is being held at the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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