Polk teen accused in cell phone scam

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A Polk County 16-year-old is accused of conning people out of their cell phones.

Investigators say Alvin Mercedes would post ads on sites like Let Go, offering to pay top-dollar for used cell phones.

Shavon Sharma from Orlando was psyched with the deal he was offered: $1,000 for his iPhone 10.

“It is a lot of money,” he told FOX 13 during a phone interview. “When I see that much, I jump to it pretty quick you know.”

Mercedes told Sharma to meet him in a neighborhood in Davenport around 5 a.m. Since Sharma doesn’t have a license, his 21-year-old cousin, Randy Ramkumar drove him.

Detectives say when the Orlando guys arrived, Mercedes asked to look over the phone, but as soon as he got it into his hands, he took off running.

Ramkumar zipped right after him, and eventually caught up.

But Tamkumar says Mercedes did something unexpected

“He walked to a neighbor’s house,” he said on the phone. “He tried to break into the house.”

And then something else unexpected happened. Ramkumar says the homeowner came out with a hammer and a knife.

Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky says this situation was filled with many unknowns that could have turned tragic.

“These have turned into homicides before,” said Chief Elensky. “If you chase someone down, you have no idea if they have a gun, a knife, or whatever they have on them.”

Mercedes was arrested and taken to juvenile detention. Investigators say he is charged in three other cases that follow the same pattern.

Elensky says if you make a deal to buy or sell something on the web, make sure you meet the other person in a safe place, like a police station.