FORT WAYNE – The first victim was robbed in mid-April of a wallet, cellphone and money he thought would be used to buy a video game system.
One month later, a second victim was held to the ground with a gun to the back of his head and robbed of a gun, credit cards and a cellphone, just before his friend in a nearby car was robbed of money the two also brought to buy a video game system.
Three days later, on May 23, police had in custody one of the men they believe were responsible for recent robberies linked to ads posted to the classifieds website Craigslist.
Tahj R. Thomas, 18, of the 5400 block of Gaywood Drive, was charged Friday with three counts of robbery and one count of possession of a handgun with obliterated identification marks for what police say was his role in the robberies of three people.
According to the affidavits, Thomas lured the three people on two occasions to the same location at Golfview Apartments where he robbed them at gunpoint of their cellphones and money the victims thought would be used to buy video game consoles.
Thomas is accused of luring the first victim April 18 to the back parking lot of the apartment complex under the guise of buying a PlayStation 4. When the victim arrived, he followed Thomas in a nearby apartment building to get the video game console, but instead found himself at the end of a gun as Thomas took nearly $200 and the victim’s cellphone, according to an affidavit.
In the second robbery, Thomas is accused of going to the same location May 20 with a friend after arranging for the sale of another video game console.
The story played out the same as the first robbery, except this time Thomas told police he held the victim to the ground with the gun at the back of his head and robbed him of his wallet, a handgun and credit cards. Thomas then went to the victim’s friend in a car in the parking lot and robbed him of his cellphone and the money the two brought to buy the video game system, the affidavit said.
Police arrested Thomas on May 23 as officers did surveillance in the area in light of nine Craigslist robberies reported this year. Officers thought Thomas was acting suspiciously, although they did not yet know he was their suspect.
As Thomas tried to leave the area, an officer saw him drop something near a fence, which turned out to be a handgun with the serial numbers removed, the affidavit said. Thomas was being held Friday night in lieu of $10,000 bail.