Online arrangement to buy Xanax leads to armed robbery at Kent County park

Two men face multiple charges, accused of using Snapchat to set up an armed robbery at a popular Kent County park.

COMSTOCK PARK, MICH. - Two men face criminal charges for using social media to arrange a hold-up at a popular Kent County park targeting a woman looking for prescription medication.

The pair agreed to sell the woman Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety and stress.  She was directed to Dwight Lydell Park in Comstock Park, not far from Fifth-Third Ballpark.  She was robbed at gunpoint when she arrived to complete the deal.

Austin Ray Luft, 20, and Seth Andrew Stepien, 18, are charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

They’ll be in 63rd District Court Tuesday for a probable cause hearing on criminal charges that could put them behind bars for decades. Both are being held in the Kent County Jail.

Luft met the victim on Snapchat, an online messaging system, and arranged an Aug. 20 meeting at the Kent County park.  She arrived, “thinking she was going to buy the pills,’’ investigators wrote in court records.

Stepien, armed with a stolen 9mm handgun, was waiting in the wings. He took $90 at gunpoint, which he and Luft split, court records show.

Kent County deputies tracked Stepien to an apartment on Chasseral Drive NW, a short distance from the 39-acre park at Leland Avenue and West River Drive NE.

He jumped off a third-floor balcony and entered a neighbor’s apartment, where he was arrested, court records show. Deputies recovered a 9mm handgun which had been reported stolen in Kent County.

Stepien, of Comstock Park, is being held on a $100,000 bond. He’s also charged with felony use of a firearm. Luft, who lives in Lowell, is being held on a $25,000 bond.

A third man, from Lowell, is charged with being an accessory after the fact to a felony for serving as driver.  The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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