Police make arrest in recent Craigslist robberies

Mug shot of Tahj Thomas provided by the Allen Co. Sheriff's Dept.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A man is facing charges in connection to a recent string of Craigslist robberies in the area. The arrest came just hours after Fort Wayne police held a news conference to warn residents about the dangers of selling items on the popular website.

Officers from the Gang and Violent Crimes Unit and the Vice & Narcotics Division arrested Tahj Thomas late Friday morning. During the course of the investigation, Thomas was found with a .22 caliber handgun. The serial number on the handgun had been removed.

“We were able to develop some leads based on some good police work,” FWPD spokesperson Michael Joyner said.  “In totality, they were able to look at all the circumstances surrounding each one of the nine robberies dating back to January of this year.  There were bits and pieces of information that we could draw from each one.  That information led to the arrest.”

Thomas faces charges including:

1. Warrant – Violation of Terms of Release for Robbery
2. Carrying a Handgun without License – Misdemeanor
3. Possession of Handgun with Obliterated Serial Number
4. Robbery – B Felony (two counts)

Joyner said police could connect Thomas to at least two of the robberies.  “Hopefully we’ll be able to close out the other seven,” he said.  “We’re not sure he acted alone.”

Joyner added that Thomas had a criminal record.  Court documents revealed Thomas has been is set to be on trial for allegedly committing a robbery in August of 2013.

No other details have been released and the investigation will continue.

Even though one man has been arrested, Joyner said Craigslist users should continue to use common sense when meeting someone to buy or sell items.  “You have to keep your guard up,” he said.  “There’s going to be someone else to fill those shoes.”

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