Craigslist crimes continue to surface nationwide, especially in Georgia, which has seen an onslaught of recent infractions, including a string of robberies. On Tuesday, after a five-month investigation, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) arrested a total of seven suspects in connection with several Southwest Atlanta heists.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the suspects posted fake ads on the infamous Craigslist site in an attempt to lure in unsuspecting consumers in search of vehicles. The vehicles, which never existed, were listed at low prices, with the stipulation that they could only be purchased with cash. When people arrived to look at the vehicles, they were immediately robbed. A total of $20,000 among 15 victims was allegedly stolen.
Craigslist Crimes Continue: Gang Members Arrested For Numerous Robberies
Darious Harris, 21
JuJuane Harris, 17
Tayza Harris, 41
Cameron Neeley, 18
Tereka Mills, 20
Jacorey Johnson, 25
Aqueelah Jannah, 18
WMAZ reports that the the people behind the robberies are from two Atlanta street gangs, including the “9 Trey Gang” and the “Billy Bad Ass Gang.” The seven suspects include:
- Tayza Harris, 41
- JuJuane Harris, 17
- Darious Harris, 21
- Aqueelah Jannah, 18
- Jacorey Johnson, 25
- Tereka Mills, 20
- Cameron Neeley, 18
Atlanta Gang Squad Investigator C. Kettel states that the aggressors carefully chose their targets before meeting them. They mostly concentrated on luring in Hispanic people, under the false belief that the Hispanic community would be less likely to go to the police.
“The specific people that were being targeted had large amounts of cash on them and typically wouldn’t come to police. They did in fact target the Hispanic population.”
Per Atlanta Deputy Chief Darryl Tolleson, the 15 robberies occurred last year, starting in June and lasting until December. The assailants reportedly wore ski masks or scarves during each heist, and pointed handguns at the victims while demanding their cash, bank cards, and cellphones.
Along with armed robbery, the suspects were charged with one felony count each of participating in criminal street gang activities.
The arrests come only a little over a month after the disappearance and murders of Bud and June Runion, a Cobb County couple who traveled over three hours to Telfair County, Georgia, in hopes of buying their dream car: a 1966 Ford Mustang.
Bud Runion, 69, a man remembered for his volunteer work and fixing up new bicycles for underprivileged children, posted a Craigslist ad in January, 2015, seeking a 1966 convertible Ford Mustang, preferably red in color. Someone in Telfair County responded to his ad, and a meeting for January 24 was set up.
Bud, along with his wife June, 66, set off on a 197-mile drive to South Georgia to look at the Mustang. However, when the Runions’ daughters failed to hear from the couple all day, they became concerned and called the police.
Within the next few days, a round-the-clock investigation revealed that Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, of Telfair County, was the last person to talk to the Runions via a “throw-away” cellphone. Towns was initially arrested for giving false information to police, but when the Runions’ bodies were discovered within a few miles of the Towns family’s property, he was charged with felony murder and robbery.
Police urge everyone to use common sense and their best discretion when using sites such as Craigslist. Ask to meet a local police station, never carry large amounts of cash with you, and if possible, never go alone when meeting anyone, regardless of how safe the seller or buyer may seem.
[Photos Courtesy of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office]