Three Sentenced For Luring Robbery Victims With Online Ads
Three men have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to commit a series of armed robberies by luring their victims with online advertisements and ambushing them.
21-year-old Rodney E. Brock of Blue Springs, 36-year-old Sage Harrison of Independence, and 34-year-old Kenneth W. Sexson of Sugar Creek were sentenced separately late last week to terms between 5 and 15 years in federal prison without parole.
The United States Attorney's Office says the men posted ads on several websites in order to entice customers to meet in person at area hotels, residences and apartments in Kansas City. When the customers arrived, they ambushed and robbed the customers at gunpoint.
Friday, April 27, 2018, KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Three men have been sentenced in federal court this week for their roles in a conspiracy to commit a series of armed robberies by luring their victims with online advertisements and ambushing them.
Rodney E. Brock, 21, of Blue Springs, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays today to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Sage Harrison, 36, of Independence, Mo., was sentenced on Thursday, April 26, 2018, to five years in federal prison without parole. Kenneth W. Sexson, 34, of Sugar Creek, Mo., was sentenced on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to 15 years in federal prison without parole.
Brock, Harrison and Sexson each pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit armed robberies from April 1, 2015, to June 7, 2016. Brock also pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robberies committed in October 2015 and one count of carjacking. Harrison also pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robberies committed in October 2015. Sexson also pleaded guilty to six counts of armed robberies committed in October 2015, and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Co-conspirators posted ads on several websites in order to entice customers to meet in person at area hotels, residences and apartments in Kansas City, Mo. When the customers arrived, co-conspirators were lying in wait, armed with firearms and weapons that appeared to be firearms. They ambushed and robbed the customers at gunpoint.
According to court records, the proceeds of the robberies was divided up and usually used to pay for narcotics or to pay for a room where the co-conspirators could use narcotics. When confronting the victim, the co-conspirators used verbal threats, pointed real and fake guns at them, physically hit them, and intimidated them by photographing or taking identifications off of the victim. Records obtained from social media services and hotels corroborate statements by participants that only a small percentage of the victims called the police to report their robbery.
Brock and Sexson admitted that they participated in the most violent of the robberies, which occurred on Oct. 9, 2015. Co-defendant Melissa C. Cummins, 23, of Independence, Mo., posted an online ad then directed the customer who responded to an address to meet her in person. When she let him into the apartment, Brock, Sexson and other conspirators were waiting armed with firearms to rob him at gunpoint. Brock forced the victim into his own vehicle and searched it for more items to steal. Brock threatened to shoot the victim if he didn’t produce the title to the vehicle. Brock forced the victim to ride in the passenger seat while a co-conspirator drove his vehicle. Brock again threatened to shoot him if he didn’t produce the title. While driving at highway speeds on 71 Highway, the victim jumped from the moving vehicle in fear for his life and sustained injuries.
The next day, Independence police officers arrested co-defendant Devon Davis-Aumua, 23, of Independence, prowling cars in the parking lot of the Quality Inn at approximately 3:33 a.m. Davis-Aumua was in possession of methamphetamine, a stolen Springfield XDS .45-caliber pistol, and the keys to the victim’s stolen truck, which was discovered nearby out of gas.
Sexson was arrested on June 7, 2016, when the U-Haul cargo van he was driving was mistakenly identified by a woman who had loaned a similar van to an acquaintance without it being returned. She attempted to get the van to stop by pulling in front of it, then followed the van and ended up striking the van multiple times with her vehicle. She told police officers that co-defendant Ray J. Mahurin, 34, of Blue Springs, who was in the back of the van, fired multiple shots at her vehicle with a handgun.
Independence police officers located the U-Haul cargo van near Highway 291 and Truman Road. They initiated a pursuit in which the U-Haul cargo van reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour. During the pursuit, Sexson’s van ran a red light and drove in opposing lanes of traffic. During the pursuit, officers saw Sexson and Mahurin throw two long guns from the vehicle. They later recovered a loaded Marlin 30-30 lever action rifle and a camouflaged Mossberg pump action shotgun in the area of the chase. Both firearms had been reported as stolen. Officers recovered a Springfield Armory XDS-9 handgun.
The pursuit continued toward Leavenworth County, Kan. Tire deflation devices were deployed against the U-Haul van multiple times. The pursuit ended only after the U-Haul van became disabled as a result of the damage suffered during the pursuit. Sexson, Mahurin and co-defendant Nicole Covey, 35, of Sugar Creek, were arrested. During a search of the U-Haul van, officers discovered a ballistic vest, a Covert CXI crossbow, four pairs of black gloves, bandanas, assorted hand and cordless tools, a collapsible baton and multiple chainsaws.
Officers also located photos from Mahurin’s Facebook account, which shows Mahurin and Sexson inside the van on the day before the police chase, and from inside the van during the police chase.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Sexson has eight prior felony convictions. Sexson was convicted in 2004 of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to 40 months in federal prison. Sexson also has several prior state convictions, including three counts of assault, possession of a controlled substance and leaving the scene of an accident.
Brock, Harrison and Sexson are the first defendants to be sentenced in the robbery conspiracy. Mahurin, who pleaded guilty to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, was not charged in the robbery conspiracy. Mahurin was sentenced on April 10, 2018, to three years and one month in federal prison without parole.
Cummins, Davis-Aumua and Covey are among five co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing, also including Daphne J. Fruean, 37, of Independence, and Michele R. Shatto, 34, of Kansas City, Mo.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Wolesky. It was investigated by the FBI, and the Independence, Mo., Police Department, with assistance from the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the North Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Blue Springs, Mo., Police Department.