U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri
(816) 426-3122
September 23, 2014

Two More Men Charged with Armed Craigslist Robberies, Shooting of Two Victims

KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that three Kansas City, Mo., men have been indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to commit a series of armed robberies against victims who were contacted via Craigslist.

Thomas Thorpe, 25, and Debvon Buckner, 23, both of Kansas City, Mo., and Troy Wright, 21, of Grandview, Mo., were charged in a 13-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. The indictment was unsealed and made public on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2014, upon the arrest and initial court appearance of Wright. Thorpe was also arrested yesterday but has not yet had an initial court appearance.

The indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Buckner on Aug. 20, 2014, and adds additional defendants and charges, including allegations of an additional armed robbery on June 26, 2014.

The indictment alleges that Thorpe, Wright and Buckner participated in a conspiracy between May 1 and Sept. 19, 2014, to rob several individuals at gunpoint. According to the indictment, six armed robberies occurred after conspirators posted false advertisements to buy or sell items on Craigslist.org in order to entice their victims to meet so that conspirators could steal money and electronics. Thorpe and Wright allegedly participated in all six of those armed robberies; Buckner is alleged to have participated in five of the armed robberies.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with five counts of aiding and abetting a robbery, four counts of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of aiding and abetting each other to discharge a firearm during a crime of violence. Thorpe and Wright are also charged together in an additional count of aiding and abetting a robbery and an additional count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence.

July 16, 2014, Armed Robbery and Shooting

On the evening of July 16, 2014, according to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, three victims (identified as M.N., M.K.N. and D.N., a minor) met Buckner at 5500 E. 84th Terrace, Kansas City, Mo., to look at a Hyundai Sonata that was listed for sale in a Craigslist advertisement. Thorpe and Wright were allegedly hiding, armed with firearms. M.N. and D.N. took a test drive in the vehicle with Buckner, the affidavit says, and M.N. made a purchase offer. Buckner allegedly agreed, but stated he needed to call his wife about the purchase and walked away. As he walked away, Thorpe and Wright allegedly appeared and each pointed a firearm at the victims and demanded money.

The victims tried to return to their car, the affidavit says, but conspirators shot the two adult victims, striking M.N. several times and striking M.K.N. once. Conspirators allegedly took money and personal property (including a purse that contained $500) from the victims then shot M.N. again, striking him an additional time. Conspirators allegedly fled from the area in the Hyundai Sonata. One of the victims was transported to a local hospital for life-threatening injuries from multiple gunshot wounds.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to discharge a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

According to the affidavit, the telephone number used to contact the victims was the same number used to contact a separate victim in another armed robbery earlier the same day.

July 16, 2014, Armed Robbery #2

On the afternoon of July 16, 2014, this victim told police that he had listed an XBOX One for sale on Craigslist. He arranged to meet a prospective buyer at Ridge Pointe Apartments in Kansas City, Mo. When he arrived, the affidavit said, Buckner approached him and asked to see the XBOX. The victim handed the XBOX to Buckner. Thorpe and Wright allegedly appeared and each pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded the XBOX One, XBOX games, and the accessories. They took those items, the indictment says, then fled to their vehicle.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

According to the affidavit, Kansas City Police detectives saw another Craigslist advertisement the next day for a car for sale, which used the same telephone number. In the background of the photograph was a residence, which the detectives later identified as Buckner’s residence. They obtained location data for the cell phone and set up surveillance in the area of East U.S. 40 Highway and Sterling. When Buckner boarded a metro bus, police officers took him into custody. He allegedly possessed the phone that was used to contact several victims and wore the Samsung Galaxy watch that had been stolen from the victim of an earlier robbery.

In addition to the two robberies on July 16, 2014, the indictment alleges that conspirators committed four earlier robberies.

July 3, 2014, Armed Robbery

On July 3, 2014, another victim told police that he had been robbed while trying to buy an XBOX from a Craigslist advertisement. The victim met Buckner at Ridge Pointe Apartments, the affidavit says, after he had agreed to give him $160 and a Samsung Galaxy watch to buy the XBOX. One conspirator was in hiding and armed with a firearm, the indictment says, and another conspirator was waiting in the getaway vehicle. Buckner refused to do the deal, the affidavit says. When the victim began walking back to his car, another conspirator appeared, pointed a firearm at him and demanded money. While this man pointed the gun at him, the affidavit says, another conspirator came over and frisked the victim. The two men took the watch and the cash, and then fled.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

June 30, 2014, Armed Robbery

One victim allegedly met Buckner on June 30, 2014, to purchase a cell phone that was advertised on Craigslist. She decided not to purchase the phone and began to walk away, when the other conspirators pointed firearms at her and demanded money. According to the affidavit, after she gave the men $100 they demanded her car keys, cellphone and purse. She pressed the panic button on her car keys and when alarm sounded, the affidavit says, all three of the men ran.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

June 30, 2014, Armed Robbery #2

Another victim met Buckner later that night on the same date, according to the affidavit. She told police officers that she had been contacted about purchasing an XBOX One that she had posted for sale on Craigslist. When she arrived (with three other persons, one of whom was a minor) at Ridge Pointe Apartments, Buckner allegedly showed her that he had cash to make the purchase. As soon as she took out the XBOX, he allegedly took it and ran. Thorpe and Wright, armed with handguns, allegedly approached and pointed the guns at the victims in the vehicle. They demanded all of their money, purses, and XBOX games and controllers. One of the victims asked for her purse back, the affidavit says, and one of the conspirators said, “Get back in the car or I’ll shoot you” and racked the slide on his gun.

Thorpe, Wright and Buckner are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

June 26, 2014, Armed Robbery

According to the indictment, conspirators posted a Samsung plasma TV for sale on Craigslist and, the same day, communicated with a victim for its purchase. The victims (identified in the indictment as C.S., J.G. and A.J., a minor) were led to an apartment on E. 42nd Street, Kansas City, Mo., where another conspirator allegedly was waiting armed with two firearms. When J.G., holding the minor A.J. in his arms, took out his wallet, the other conspirator appeared with a firearm in each hand, pointed them at the victims, and stole money from C.S. and J.G.

Thorpe and Wright are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting that robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting each other to brandish a firearm during a crime of violence in relation to that robbery.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew P. Wolesky and Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

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