SARASOTA (WWSB) - Four teenagers are in custody after deputies say they used an online sale meetup to beat a man and rob him of $400 in the Starbucks parking lot in Sarasota.
Around 12:30pm on Sunday, deputies were called to the Starbucks on Cattlemen Road. The 39-year-old victim told deputies he had intended to use the “LetGo” mobile app to buy an iPhone, but when he met up with the seller, he was repeatedly hit in the head, pepper sprayed and robbed of $400. He did not get the phone.
The suspect fled in a four-door beige/gold vehicle and witnesses told deputies they saw three other people inside, including a woman who was counting the money.
Deputies tracked down the seller on the LetGo app and found the post was created at a home on the 2200 block of 25th Street in Sarasota. Jordan Jackson, 18, lives there and was brought in for questioning on Tuesday. Deputies say he confessed to planning the crime with his girlfriend, 18-year-old Taylor Henderson, as well as 18-year-old Marvin Jones. Deputies say Jackson told them that he and the others brought in 19-year-old Brandon Reddish to commit the actual robbery.
Jones was allegedly driving the vehicle involved in the robbery. Deputies say they tracked down the vehicle and found a can of pepper spray and blood stains on the front passenger seat. They questioned Jones, who they say also confessed to his role in the crime.
Deputies say Henderson posted the iPhone for sale on the LetGo app and the photos have her head and hands in them. Deputies say she also matches the description given by witnesses of the woman seen in the vehicle counting money. Deputies say Henderson admitted her role in the crime and told them that they split the $400 evenly.
Reddish was taken into custody and deputies say he told them that during the robbery, he was supposed to get the $400 from the victim, but not give up the phone. Deputies say Reddish told them he hit and pepper sprayed the victim to get the phone back and was given $100 for his role in the robbery.
Reddish is charged with Armed Robbery, Displaying a Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, and Battery. He’s being held without bond. Jackson, Jones and Henderson are all charged with Principal to Armed Robbery. Henderson and Jones are being held without bond while Jackson is being held on $50,000 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,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “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.”