Wilkes-Barre man charged in second Facebook Marketplace robbery

·2 min read

Mar. 29—PLAINS TWP. — A Wilkes-Barre man was arraigned Wednesday on allegations he set up two men to buy a cellular phone only to rob them while brandishing a firearm earlier this year.

Idris Ibn Sharee Hollis, 23, of Scott Street, posted a used cellular phone for sale on a social media marketplace with intentions to rob the buyer, according to court records filed by Plains Township police.

It is the second time Hollis has been charged for marketing a used cell phone only to rob the buyer.

Plains Township police arrested Hollis Feb. 2 when he met Thabang Rudolf Maphothoane who contacted him about the cellular phone. When Maphothoane arrived at the meeting location in the area of North Main and Farrell streets, Hollis brandished a firearm and shot Maphothoane in the chest who crashed into a utility pole, court records say.

The alleged shooting and robbery of Maphothoane occurred two days after Hollis targeted two men in the cellular phone marketplace scheme.

According to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday:

Two men from Philadelphia who only speak Russian contacted Hollis via Facebook Marketplace about a used cellular phone for sale.

Hollis agreed to meet the two men on Jan. 31 at a convenience store in the 600 block of North Main Street.

When the two men arrived, they reported a man wearing a ski mask approached them with a firearm that was aimed at their heads. The masked man, who police identified as Hollis, demanded money and was given $350, the complaint says.

The two men then fled and drove to a gasoline service station on Bear Creek Boulevard where they contacted police.

Police said they recovered a disassembled 9mm handgun concealed in a plastic bag hidden in the bathroom ceiling and a 9mm magazine in a laundry bag inside Hollis' girlfriend's apartment near the convenience store on North Main Street, the complaint says.

Hollis was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Luzerne County Central Court on two counts each of robbery and simple assault and a single count of theft. He was jailed on the charges for lack of $250,000 bail.

For the Feb. 2 incident involving the shooting, Hollis remains jailed without bail on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Preliminary hearings on the two cases is scheduled for April 5.