LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - Lee County detectives made three arrests in connection with a robbery set up by using Facebook.
Deputies were alerted to an armed robbery in Lehigh Acres the evening of Wednesday February 5th at a home in the 1500 block of Mitchell Avenue. Deputies met with two men who said they went to the home to purchase used cell phones.
The two used a Facebook community page to search for used iPhones to buy. They set up a deal at a home in Lehigh Acres. By the time they realized it was vacant and they were set up it was too late.
The victims say 18-year-old Melina Maldonado met them in the driveway when a masked man later identified as 19-year-old Gustavo Fernandes Souza approached with a rifle. The two were forced at gunpoint out of their car and led to the garage were they were searched and robbed by a third masked man later identified as 19-year-old Xavier Rodriguez.
The victims were left in the garage and had an opportunity to escape. They ran to a nearby residence to get help.
Detectives learned that the robbers were using fake names with Maldonado using the first name Finesser, which refers to “someone who robs or steals”. On Tuesday, February 11th, Maldonado and Rodriguez were located and arrested. Souza was arrested on Wednesday, February 12th. All were charged for robbery with a firearm and booked into the Lee County Jail.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office says the crime should serve as a reminder of the consequences of conducting business online. Recent arrests have shown that thieves may target you as a victim even through emails and text messages. If you intend to purchase an item online and agree to meet the person, complete the transaction in a public place or even at one of the Sheriff’s District Offices.