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2 San Francisco suspects arrested in string of violent armed robberies luring victims with online ads

PIX Now afternoon edition 5-16-2024
PIX Now afternoon edition 5-16-2024 09:04

Police in San Francisco arrested a pair of suspects last month in a series of armed robberies in which the two men would rob victims of their belongings after meeting to sell a vehicle they advertised online, according to authorities.

According to a press release issued by the SFPD Thursday, the investigation began over a year ago after the first in a series of violent armed robberies happened on April 25, 2023, on the 200 block of Blythedale Avenue in San Francisco. Police said the robberies followed a similar modus operandi (M.O) where the suspect would post an item for sale on an online marketplace -- usually a vehicle for under $5,000 -- and arranged to meet with an interested buyer, who was then robbed at gunpoint at the time of the meeting by the suspect or suspects before they would flee the area.

Between the first robbery in late April and a similar incident on June 5, 2023, police documented at least eight armed robberies that took place in the city's Sunnydale and Bret Harte neighborhoods. A number of the victims were injured after being assaulted by the suspects during the robberies. The robberies all occurred in one of two areas: the 100 or 200 blocks of Blythedale Avenue or near the intersection of Ingerson Avenue and Griffith Street.

The SFPD robbery detail led the nearly year-long investigation into the incidents, eventually identifying San Francisco residents 19-year-old Jevonte Powell and 20-year-old Jermaine Williams as the two suspects connected to all eight robberies. Officers were able to obtain arrest warrants for both men.

On April 9, 2024, officers located Jevonte Powell and took him into custody. He was booked at San Francisco County Jail and was charged with nine counts of robbery, five counts of kidnapping for robbery, 11 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of attempted robbery. Williams was taken into custody by SFPD on April 16, 2024, at approximately 12:50 p.m. He was charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.

The San Francisco Police Department encourages anyone who is a victim of a crime to report it to police so that it may be investigated. While the two suspects have been arrested, these robberies remain open and active investigations. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact the San Francisco Police Department SFPD 24-hour-tip line at 1-415-575-4444, or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. Tipsters may remain anonymous. 

Police also advise the public to exercise caution when meeting with an unknown individual to purchase an item from an online marketplace. Follow the below guidelines to ensure safety: 

  • It is strongly recommended to meet at a neutral, agreed-upon location. Insist on meeting the buyer in a well-lit public place familiar to you, such as at a district police station.  
  • Never give out personal or financial information and do not invite strangers into your home.   
  • Be vigilant, alert, and mindful of your surroundings.   
  • Keep valuables out of sight, or leave them at home.   
  • Safety in numbers – walk and travel with others.   
  • Trust your intuition. If something feels weird, trust your instinct, and change the situation.   
  • If you are the victim of a crime, do not fight back. The suspects are often armed. Your property can be replaced, you cannot. Then call 9-1-1 immediately and provide the dispatcher with the suspect's description and as much detail as possible.   
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