Four More Indicted in Conspiracy to Lure Robbery Victims with Online Ads for Escorts
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four additional defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury today for their roles in a conspiracy to use online escort and massage ads to lure robbery victims.
Rodney E. Brock, 20, of Blue Springs, Mo., Melissa C. Cummins, 23, and Daphne J. Fruean, 37, both of Independence, Mo., and Michele R. Shatto, 34, of Kansas City, Mo., were charged in a 12-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. The second superseding indictment replaces a Nov. 1, 2016, superseding indictment and contains additional defendants and charges (bringing the total number of defendants to 10). Today’s second superseding indictment also includes Kenneth W. Sexson, 33, of Sugar Creek, Mo., Ray J. Mahurin, 34, of Blue Springs, Serina M. Campos, 23, of Independence, with the same charges contained in the previous indictment, but does not include three co-defendants who have pleaded guilty.
Today’s indictment alleges that Sexson, Brock, Cummins, Fruean and Shatto participated in a conspiracy to commit armed robbery from April 1, 2015, to June 7, 2016. They allegedly used several websites (including craigslist.org, backpage.com and skout.com) to make connections with their victims and arrange meetings at local hotels, residences and apartments. When customers arrived for the meetings, the indictment says, conspirators would be lying in wait, armed with firearms, and rob the customers.
The indictment specifically refers to seven armed robberies that occurred in September and October 2015 at various locations in Kansas City, Mo., Independence, and North Kansas City, Mo. Six of the robberies in October 2016 were included in the earlier indictment. A Sept. 26, 2016, robbery at an Independence hotel is added in the current indictment.
In one of those robberies, a victim jumped from his moving vehicle on the highway in fear of his life and was transported to the hospital. According to court documents, conspirators lured a victim to meet Cummins at a Kansas City, Mo., apartment on Oct. 9, 2015. When he arrived at the apartment, court documents say, he was greeted at the door by Cummins. Sexson, Brock and a third person, armed with handguns, allegedly pulled him into a room and threw him on the bed. They demanded his phone and money, then took him to his vehicle (a Chevrolet Silverado pickup) and searched it. Afterwards, Brock directed the victim into the passenger seat and drove off in the vehicle. While driving, Brock allegedly demanded the title to the vehicle and threatened to shoot the victim, who jumped from the moving vehicle in the area of I-670 and 71 Highway in fear for his life.
Brock was arrested on Nov. 5, 2015, when an Independence police officer saw him driving a stolen vehicle. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but Brock began to flee at a high rate of speed, driving into opposite lanes of traffic to avoid stop sticks. After a lengthy pursuit into Kansas, Brock bailed from the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. He entered a nearby body of water, and was later recovered from that body of water. Inside the stolen vehicle, officers discovered a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
The indictment charges Sexson, Mahurin and Campos together in one count of being unlawful users of a controlled substance who aided and abetted each other to possess firearms and ammunition. The indictment alleges they were in possession of a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, a Marlin 30-30 caliber rifle, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Springfield 9mm pistol, and ammunition.
In addition to the conspiracy, Sexson, Brock and Cummins are charged together with one count of aiding and abetting an armed robbery. Sexson and Brock are charged together with one count of aiding and abetting an armed robbery. Sexson and Fruean are charged together with one count of aiding and abetting an armed robbery.
Sexson is also charged with three additional counts of aiding and abetting an armed robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Brock is also charged with one count of carjacking (related to the Oct. 9, 2015, armed robbery) and one count of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm. Brock allegedly possessed a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol when he was arrested on Nov. 5, 2015.
Larson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.
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.