Judge Raises Bond for Man Suspected of Robbing Hartford Pastor | NBC Connecticut

Judge Raises Bond for Man Suspected of Robbing Hartford Pastor

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    The East Hartford man accused of robbing a pastor during a Craigslist sale appeared in court Police cracked the case thanks to alert witnesses and evidence found online (Published Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015)

    A 20-year-old man suspected in the violent Craigslist robbery that left a Connecticut pastor unconscious appeared in court on Monday, where a judge set increased his bond from $75,000 to $600,000.

    Pastor Luis Borges, 54, of Assembleia De Deus at 106 New Park Avenue, was looking on Craigslist for a cell phone and arranged to meet the seller outside his church around 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 after finding an iPhone 6 advertised for $400, police said.

    But when Borges turned over the money to the seller, Raheem Rankine, 20, a second man came up and punched him in the head, according to police. Police arrested Rankine and are still looking for the second man.

    "I feel better. can actually sleep knowing that the case is actually moving forward," Luis Peter Borges, the pastor's son, told NBC Connecticut.

    Pastor Assaulted During Craiglist Buy Gone WrongPastor Assaulted During Craiglist Buy Gone Wrong (Published Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015)

    When police arrived, they found the pastor on the ground, He had hit his head on the pavement  and was disoriented, according to police. He was transported to Hartford Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

    "That is so sad. It's like he didn't see it coming," Alvin Clark, of Hartford, said.

    Both assailants had run off, but the pastor's adult daughter and teenage son arrived after the teo men got there and his daughter was able to snap a photo of one of the robbers before her father was assaulted. This photo, as well as one another person snapped of the car the men were in, which helped police catch one suspect, police said.

    The car was registered to Raheem Rankine, 20, of East Hartford, and the phone number matched the one associated with the Craigslist ad, according to the affidavit.

    Armed with the photo, she recognized one of the assailants on Facebook as the man who had robbed her father, police said.

    When police checked his Facebook page, listed under "RahRah Finessa Commah," they noticed that the man looked like the one in the photo the pastor's family provided, down to the same gray sweatshirt with FLY on the front in at least one of his Facebook photos.

    "What we put on the internet is preserved essentially for eternity. It's very difficult to take back something that's put out there," Hartford Police Lt. Brandon O'Brien said.

    Another witness took a photo of the getaway car, which police discovered was registered to Rankine. And court records show he used his own phone number in the Craigslist ad.

    The family positively identified Rankine from a photo lineup and police obtained an arrest warrant for him.

    On Oct. 17, investigators learned Rankine was hiding at 22 Belden Street in East Hartford and shooting task force detectives monitoring the home spotted him through a window, police said. East Hartford police helped them enter the home and take Rankine into custody. He was charged with first-degree robbery.

    Rankine appeared in court on Monday, where his bond was increased from $75,000 to $600,000. He's due back in court on Nov. 3.

    A second suspect is still at large and is described as a man weighing 140 to 160 pounds and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black sneakers and black sweatpants.

    "I get frustrated that he's still out there on the loose. Freedom, it just really ticks me off," Luis Peter Borges, the pastor's son, said.

    Investigators ask anyone with information to contact Hartford police.

    Police warn others to beware of fake listings on Craiglist, and remind residents that the police station parking lot is a designated safe zone for all social media transactions.

    "The police department's open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, holidays included," O'Brien said.

    Borges' son said his father is on the mend, but it's a slow process.

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