Detectives in Florida arrested a teenager on Thursday after an investigation found he carried out at least three robberies over the summer using Facebook Marketplace.
Leo Etienne, 16, is charged with multiple felonies including armed robbery, grand theft, and dealing in stolen property. Detectives said Etienne displayed a firearm in one of the robberies.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk called the arrest an outstanding example of how the agency comes together to solve crimes.
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“This was a collaborative effort by multiple units and involved numerous hours of developing leads through investigative efforts, collecting hours of video, interviewing multiple witnesses, and more, all in an effort to thwart this dangerous crime trend,” Sheriff Rambosk said.
The investigation found Etienne coordinated three robberies through Facebook Marketplace which he carried out close to his residence in Immokalee. Etienne then sold the stolen property to other buyers.
In one of the robberies the victims agreed to drive to Immokalee to sell Beats headphones to Etienne. They met at an arranged location where Etienne took possession of the headphones and displayed a firearm in his waistband, claiming the Beats were now his. The victims feared for their safety and contacted law enforcement.
In another, Etienne arranged to meet the victim at Eden Park Elementary School to buy a gold necklace for $2,000. Etienne reached into the victim’s vehicle and stole the necklace from the victim’s neck before running away.
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Etienne staged another robbery at the elementary school where he stole jewelry valued at $1,200 from the victim.
Through the investigation, Etienne was developed as a suspect and was identified by one of the victims from a photo lineup.
On Thursday, detectives interviewed Etienne and took him into custody.
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