‘Violent’ robbery suspect arrested in Lee County

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Travonte Smith (Credit: LCSO booking photo)

Lee County deputies arrested a man they say lured people to a home and violently robbed them.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during a press conference Wednesday that deputies have been called to this particular home off Prospect Avenue in Tice at least 25 times.

Marceno said Travonte Smith, 25, was his No. 1 suspect in a mass robbery that happened May 30. Investigators believe Smith lured a group of people to the home for a party and then robbed them.

Deputies served a search warrant there Wednesday but did not find Smith initially. The SWAT team was also at the home, armed and ready to take Smith into custody.

Marceno called for the suspect he described as “violent” to turn himself in, and said the community’s safety is of utmost importance.

Neighbors are used to seeing deputies at the home and they’re scared.

“Two weeks ago in the morning when I was on my way to work and I saw the police were blocking the New York Street, and then one afternoon when I came back from work, they were still there,” said one woman who didn’t want to show her face.

For most of her 20 years there, she said it was a good, calm place to live. Not anymore.

“It’s been getting scared (sic) because I think there is two shootings around here, so we don’t feel safety anymore.”

Marceno promised Smith won’t get away – and he didn’t. He was taken into custody shortly before midnight Wednesday and faces two counts of robbery with a weapon.

“We’ve been called to this house 25 times; that’s a nuisance and I’m not going to tolerate that as the sheriff of this county.”

The sheriff said the people of this neighborhood deserve to feel safe, which is why he made it a priority to get Smith behind bars.

“If you want to be a thug in our county, there’s only one place for you and that’s behind bars. So this is an open, active investigation and the public should know and the people around here, we’re not going to tolerate it.”

The investigation remains open.

Smith went before a judge Friday morning and a judge set bond at $150,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 6.

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