KANSAS CITY, MO — Four more defendants in Missouri have been busted in a case involving posting online escort and massage ads in order to lure victims to various locations — and then robbing them. Six other defendants have previously been charged in connection with this case.
Rodney E. Brock, 20; Melissa C. Cummins, 23; Daphne J. Fruean, 37; and Michele R. Shatto, 34; were indicted by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri. According to the indictment, the four participated in a conspiracy with others to commit armed robbery from April 1, 2015, to June 7, 2016.
Their method was to allegedly use several websites including Craigslist.org, Backpage.com, and Skout.com to advertise adult services. The defendants would then allegedly arrange meetings at local hotels, residences, and apartments. When customers arrived, hoping for some action, the indictment says, the suspects would be lying in wait with firearms. Instead of getting off, the victims got robbed.
In one of those robberies, a victim was lured to an apartment where he was pulled into a room, thrown on a bed, and attacked by suspects armed with handguns. The defendants demanded that the victim hand over his phone and money, then took him to his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and forced him to drive off.
While the victim was driving, Brock allegedly demanded the title to the vehicle and threatened to shoot the victim, who was able to jump from the moving truck to escape. The terrified victim was taken to the hospital.
Brock was arrested on November 5, 2015, after an Independence police officer saw him driving a stolen vehicle. Following a high-speed chase that crossed the border into Kansas, Brock fled on foot and was later recovered from a nearby body of water. Cops found a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the stolen vehicle.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants were in possession of a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, a Marlin 30-30 caliber rifle, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Springfield 9mm pistol, and ammunition.
Individually, the defendants face other charges, including brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Brock is also charged with one count of carjacking for the incident with the pickup truck.
You never know who is going to be at other end of an online post!
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