By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Police say teenage girls have been luring men to locations where they are robbed by an accomplice.
Capt. Dean Harper, commander of the Meridian Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division, said Meridian resident Ashley Denise Cole, 17, has been charged with armed robbery. Her bond has been set $250,000.
Harper said the victim went to a Meridian motel to meet Cole with whom he had been communicating with via social media. Upon arrival, the victim told detectives a male subject armed with a handgun jumped from a hiding spot and robbed the victim of his cell phone.
"This is the third arrest made in as many days on this type of crime," said Harper, referring to the recent arrests of Ashley Lewis and Stantrez Grady, both age 16. "Police believe others of a similar nature have occurred but the victims have been afraid to come forward because of the original reason they were meeting someone. We encourage anyone who has had a similar crime happen to them to come forward so the cases can be investigated."
In the latest incident, the victim told detectives he was able to escape from the room and the male suspect ran away on foot. Cole remained behind and was subsequently taken into custody by police.
Earlier this week a man reported being robbed after he went to Highland Park to meet with Lewis, who the man reportedly met on a social media website. The encounter resulted in the man getting robbed at gunpoint. Lewis and Grady have been charged as adults with armed robbery. A third person, Markeey Green, is also being sought in connection with this incident.
"We strongly caution the general public about meeting people from online social networking sites at motels and out of the way places," said Harper. "Just as police use the Internet to catch online predators, the criminal element uses it as well to conduct their business."
According to arrest reports from the Lauderdale County jail, in an unrelated case, Green was arrested March 17 for possession of marijuana, DUI, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was released on bond.
Police ask if you know of Green's whereabouts, or that of the suspect in the Thursday morning incident at the motel, to call the police at 601-485-1893 or CrimeStoppers at 601-485-1860.