KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Kansas City, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a conspiracy to commit a series of armed robberies against victims who were contacted via craigslist, which culminated in the shooting of two victims.
Thomas Thorpe, 26, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Thursday, July 14, 2015, to one count of conspiracy, six counts of aiding and abetting a robbery and one count of aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.
By pleading guilty, Thorpe admitted that he participated in a conspiracy between May 1 and Sept. 19, 2014, to rob several individuals at gunpoint. Thorpe participated in six armed robberies that occurred after conspirators posted false advertisements to buy or sell items on craigslist.org in order to entice their victims to meet so that conspirators could steal money and electronics. Thorpe also admitted that he was involved in the shooting of two of their victims during their final armed robbery on July 16, 2013.
Co-defendants Troy Wright, 23, of Grandview, Mo., and Debvon Buckner, 25, of Kansas City, Mo., have also pleaded guilty. In addition to the conspiracy and firearm charges, Wright pleaded guilty to six counts of aiding and abetting a robbery and Buckner pleaded guilty to five counts of aiding and abetting a robbery.
July 16, 2014, Armed Robbery and Shooting
On the evening of July 16, 2014, Thorpe and his co-defendants robbed and shot two victims (identified as M.N. and M.K.N.) near 5500 E. 84th Terrace, Kansas City, Mo. The two victims, along with their minor son, identified as D.N., had agreed to look at a Hyundai Sonata that was listed for sale in a craigslist advertisement. M.N. and D.N. took a test drive in the vehicle with Buckner and M.N. made a purchase offer. Buckner stated that he needed to call his wife about the purchase and walked away. As he walked away, Thorpe and Wright appeared and each pointed a firearm at the victims and demanded money.
The victims tried to return to their car, but Thorpe and Wright began shooting M.N. and M.K.N. multiple times. Conspirators took money and personal property (including a purse that contained $500) from the victims then shot one of the victims again, striking him an additional time. One of the victims was transported to a local hospital for life-threatening injuries from multiple gunshot wounds.
July 16, 2014, Armed Robbery
Earlier on the same day, on the afternoon of July 16, 2014, Thorpe and his co-conspirators robbed a victim who had listed an XBOX One for sale on craigslist. The victim arranged to meet Buckner at Ridge Pointe Apartments in Kansas City, Mo. When he arrived, Buckner approached him and asked to see the XBOX. When the victim handed him the XBOX, Thorpe and Wright appeared and each pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded the XBOX One, XBOX games, and the accessories. They took those items then fled to their vehicle.
July 3, 2014, Armed Robbery
On July 3, 2014, another victim was robbed while trying to buy an XBOX from a craigslist advertisement. The victim met Buckner at Ridge Pointe Apartments after he had agreed to give him $160 and a Samsung Galaxy watch to buy the XBOX. Buckner refused to make the trade after examining the watch. When the victim began walking back to his car, Wright approached, pointed a gun at him and demanded the cash and watch. After taking the cash and watch from the victim, Wright and Buckner fled frmothe aera and met up with Thorpe.
June 30, 2014, Armed Robbery
Wright and co-conspirators posted an advertisement for a phone for sale and made arrangements to meet the victim, identified as “D.B.,” after she responded to the advertisement. When the victim met with Buckner, she decided not to purchase the phone and began to walk away. Thorpe and Wright approached her, pointed guns at her and demanded money. After she gave the men $100 they demanded her car keys, cellphone and purse. She pressed the panic button on her car keys and when alarm sounded all three of the conspirators ran away.
June 30, 2014, Armed Robbery #2
Another victim met Buckner later that night on the same date. She had been contacted about purchasing an XBOX One that she posted for sale on Craigslist. When she arrived (with two minor children in her vehicle) at Ridge Pointe Apartments in Kansas City, Mo., Buckner told her that he wanted to see the XBOX. She got out of the vehicle, opened the trunk, and put the XBOX on the vehicle. Buckner grabbed the XBOX One and fled on foot. Thorpe and Wright, armed with handguns, approached and pointed the guns at the victims in the vehicle. They demanded all of their money, purses, and XBOX games and controllers. One of the victims asked for her purse back and one of the conspirators said, “Get back in the car or I’ll shoot you” and racked the slide on his gun.
June 26, 2014, Armed Robbery
Wright posted a Samsung plasma TV for sale on craigslist and, the same day, conspirators communicated with a victim for its purchase. The victims, including their infant child, were led to an apartment on E. 42nd Street, Kansas City, Mo. When they pulled out $170 to pay for the television, Thorpe came out from the bedroom armed with two handguns, pointed the guns in their face and demanded all their money. The victims gave them all their money and fled from the apartment.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Thorpe is subject to a sentence of at least 20 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 27 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew P. Wolesky and Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.