KC teen gets 20 years in prison for robbing people in cellphone sale set up online

A Kansas City teen who robbed two people at gunpoint after arranging over the internet to sell them a cellphone was sentenced to 20 years in a Missouri prison.

Jalen T. Clayton, 19, was sentenced in Platte County Circuit Court on May 30 after he pleaded guilty in March to two counts each of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action, according to the Platte County prosecutor’s office.

Because the crime is classified as a dangerous felony under Missouri law, Clayton must serve 17 years before becoming eligible for parole, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Clayton admitted in March that he lured two victims to the 5600 block of North Anita Avenue in Kansas City, North, by posting an iPhone for sale on the internet marketplace app OfferUp. Once the victims arrived, Clayton got in the backseat of their car and pulled out a handgun.

Clayton admitted to taking the magazine out of the gun and showing the victims the bullets inside. He demanded their possessions and fled with the victims’ cellphones, according to prosecutors.

A Platte County judge sentenced Clayton to 20 years on each of the robbery charges and 15 years on each of the armed criminal action charges. The sentences are to run concurrently.

“This sentence sends a clear message that, in Platte County, violent crimes carry severe penalties,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. “We won’t tolerate criminals who prey on the users of online marketplaces.”

Zahnd urged people to be safe when meeting strangers for online transactions. The Kansas City Police Department has online exchange locations in the parking lots of its patrol stations.

“We encourage people to use these locations or other safe, populated locations during daylight hours when meeting strangers to complete internet purchases,” Zahnd said.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.