Police Catch 4th Suspect in Lehigh Student Mugging
Rahien Ali Benjamin has been implicated in crimes with his co-defendants before, police say.
Rahien Ali Benjamin, 17, of 728 E. Morton St., was picked out of a photo lineup by one of the two victims of the Aug. 13 mugging on the 600 block of E. Fifth Street, according to an arrest warrant.
Benjamin was charged, as an adult, with two felony counts of robbery, arraigned before District Judge Roy Manwaring on Tuesday and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $50,000 bail.
Others already arrested are: Muhaafiz Ibn Salaam of 712 E. Sixth St.; Shaqur Watts of 522 Atlantic St., and Brandon Little of 656 Ridge St. All of them are 17. The arrest affidavit for Benjamin also names a fifth suspect, but he had not been charged as of Wednesday afternoon.
Like some of his alleged co-conspirators, Benjamin has been arrested before on multiple charges, police said. One of the arrests was for a “gang-style” robbery of another Lehigh student, which also involved Salaam and Watts, the affidavit said.
Benjamin and Salaam are also cousins, as their mothers are sisters, the affidavit says.
Watts allegedly lured the two victims, Nicholas Aranaw and Elizabeth Scichonski, with a promise to sell them a flat-screen television and some marijuana for $50 if they agreed to meet him on the 600 block of E. Fifth Street. The deal was made outside the Pantry 1 Food Mart on Morton Street, court records say.
When the college students arrived at the meeting place after 2 a.m., Aranaw was jumped by four other dark-skinned males. Though one of them brandished a handgun, Aranaw and Scichonski were able to get away unharmed and without losing property.
Scichonski picked Benjamin out of a photo lineup, police said.