KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Murder charges filed this week highlight the dangers of buying and selling on places like Craig’s List and Facebook Marketplace.
The victim took many of the commonly understood precautions. On Friday, following the charges being filed, KCTV5 sought out advice on additional precautions people can take to protect themselves.
18-year-old Keron Black has been charged with second degree murder. 21-year-old Raynell S. Muldrew-Golston has been charged with second degree murder and armed criminal action. A court affidavit supporting the charge said Black admitted he set up a fake Facebook account to respond to an ad on Marketplace, selling a PlayStation 4 for $225, working with others with the intention of robbing the seller of the gaming device. The affidavit stated Black told police he tried to talk his accomplices out of the robbery but knew it was planned.
It’s not often someone gets killed over a transaction like that, but less violent robberies are common enough that police departments now advertise their patrol stations as safer places to conduct that kind of business.
Randie Smith picked a public place to meet the would-be buyers. She arranged to meet them at a BP near Independence Avenue and The Paseo. There were surveillance cameras in view. Both of those are good protections, but they weren’t enough.
On August 23rd at 8 p.m., police found her a block away, her Mini Cooper overturned, a bullet in her chest.
“On any of these online apps, they can pose as anybody,” remarked Officer Jack Taylor with the Independence Police Department.
“Do your homework when you’re meeting with somebody,” advised Detective Mike Fowler, with the departments Street Crimes Unit.
Both suggest doing some online sleuthing before you buy or sell.
“With Facebook you can at least pull up the profile,” said Taylor. “If there’s limited profile activity or it looks like that profile has just been formed, that’s a red flag.”
While a public meeting place is good, a police station is best. Kansas City has six patrol divisions and several years ago added signage at each of them for “internet exchange areas.”
It’s not just about who’s watching, but it’s also often a good test of the other person’s intentions.
“If you say meet me at the Independence Police Department, Kansas City Police Department, Liberty Police Department, and that person says, ‘Oh, that’s too far to drive,’ maybe something’s off,” explained Fowler.
“If you pick up on that hesitation that might be a good time to call off that deal,” said Taylor
The signage at police stations tends to be outside, but many agencies told KCTV5 that if their lobbies are open, you’re welcome to conduct transactions inside.
They also recommend bringing someone with you and making sure someone else knows where you’re going and for what. Smith was alone but it would appear she was keeping this precaution in mind. Court documents indicate she kept her cousin on the phone through the whole thing.