Three arrested in online marketplace armed robberies - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Three arrested in online marketplace armed robberies

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Batise and Gordon Batise and Gordon

Investigators with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office have arrested three people following an investigation regarding two online-marketplace related armed robberies that occurred in the Cecilia area this week.

On Sunday, a person was lured to the vicinity of Roy J. Melancon Road in Cecilia, when the suspects said they wanted to buy something the man had posted on "Letgo." When he arrived, the three suspects robbed the victim and his passenger.

The second robbery occurred two days later when another man was lured to Roy J. Melancon Road, where once again, the suspects said they wanted to buy something the victim posted on "Offer Up."  When the victim arrived, the three suspects robbed the man and his two passengers. 

In both robberies, a firearm was used and in the Tuesday robbery, one of the victims was tased by one of the suspects.

On Thursday, Vonee Gordon Jr., 17, Breaux Bridge, was arrested and booked with five counts armed robbery and one count aggravated battery. 

Today, Kendre Batiste, 17, Breaux Bridge, was arrested and booked with five counts of armed robbery.

Also today, a 15-year-old boy was arrested and booked with five counts armed robbery. 

Gordon and Batiste were booked into the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center. Gordon's bond is set at $200,000 and Batiste's bond hasn't been set. 

The 15-year-old was booked into the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Center. 

The St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office wants to help people be safe when they use these apps.

With the increased use of individuals using apps on their phones and electronic devices to buy and sell merchandise, there is also increased potential for buyers and sellers to be placed in a harmful situation when conducting their transactions, a spokeswoman said. 

Therefore, they are offering the following safety tips:

1.    Always review the seller’s and buyer’s profile prior to setting up a transaction to check their history with other buyers and sellers.

2.    Communicate through the app and never give your work or personal phone number.

3.    Always arrange to meet in a very public location (preferably a place with security cameras) during day time hours and never go alone and never meet at a private residence.

4.    Don’t give out your home or work address.

5.    Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

6.    Use the highest security settings available on the app. Many of them offer additional safety options, so please utilize them.

7.    Arrange for payment to be made via pay-pal so that you are not carrying cash and subjecting yourself to possibly being robbed.

8.    Never give sellers or buyers your personal information.

9.    Turn your location settings off on your phone when taking and posting pictures of your merchandise which will prevent them from gaining access to your location.

10.  Listen to your gut instincts, if something just doesn’t feel right, don’t continue communicating with them.

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