November 8, 2012
Police arrest 5 in connection with series of robberies
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University police, with assistance from Lafayette and West Lafayette police, have arrested five Lafayette teens in connection with three strong-arm robberies on campus during the last weekend of October.
Four were arrested Wednesday (Nov. 7) and a fifth was arrested Thursday (Nov. 8) after an investigation found that two stolen laptops were sold to a Lafayette pawn shop, said Purdue police Chief John Cox. Three of the five face multiple felony charges.
Walter Akil Jones, 18, is charged with three counts of robbery with bodily injury and three counts of theft. Marqesse Jirmal-Carl Estrada, 18, is charged with two counts of robbery with bodily injury and two counts of theft. Claude Leo Moore III is charged as an adult with one count of robbery with bodily injury and theft. Jalin Cortez Gordon, 18, is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, and Kayla Sharae Lee, 19, is charged with theft.
Each is accused of being involved in robberies that were reported at about 9:40 p.m. Oct. 26 in the 1000 block of Third Street; at 4:29 a.m. Oct. 28 in the 600 block of North Russell Street; and at 12:30 a.m. Oct. 29 in the 300 block of Centennial Mall Drive.
According to police, in two of the three incidents a person was walking alone and was attacked from behind and robbed. In the third, two people were attacked and robbed. One victim was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.
Police say in each of the cases, the suspects arrived on campus in one vehicle, and the driver waited while the crimes were committed. The suspects then quickly returned to the vehicle at a predetermined spot.
Cox said surveillance cameras placed around campus helped in the investigation.
"We were able to see the suspects getting out of the car and track their movement through campus almost block-by-block through a combination of cameras," he said. "We were able to get some identifiers through that."
As the investigation continued, Purdue police detective Sgt. Matt Rosenbarger discovered that two laptops were sold to a pawn shop and was able to match an identification number with one of those reported stolen. A computer forensics expert from the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office was able to match up information on the second computer with its owner. The pawn shop also provided surveillance video, which helped lead to the suspects.
Jones, Estrada and Moore are all charged with Class B and D felonies. Bond was set at $25,000 for each count. Gordon is charged with a B felony. Lee is charged with a Class D felony and her bond set at $5,000. Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. A Class D felony is punishable by up to three years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Police said more arrests in connection with the incidents are expected.
Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: John Cox, 765-494-8221, email@example.com