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Suspect in Craigslist thefts pleads guilty


For months, an armed bandit terrorized individuals who met with him in what they believed was a purchase set up through Craigslist.

On Friday, 18-year-old Tahj Thomas pleaded guilty to four counts of armed robbery and an additional charge of carrying a handgun without a license. In exchange for that plea, Allen County prosecutors will not pursue charges in three additional incidents, according to court documents.

He faces no more than 50 years in prison when he is sentenced next month, and he has to pay about $1,170 in restitution to two of the victims, according to the plea agreement.

According to court documents, Thomas lured victims to a location with the promise of a deal on a video-game system. But when they arrived, cash in hand, he put a gun to their heads and took their money, their credit cards and their cellphones.

Even if the would-be buyers brought a friend with them, the results were the same and they too were robbed, according to court documents.

Thomas was arrested in late May as police were doing surveillance in the area of the Craigslist robberies. They had not identified him as their suspect, but noticed he was acting suspiciously. As he left the area, officers saw him drop something near a fence, which they later discovered was a handgun with the serial number removed, according to court documents.