Update: A woman claiming to be the victim in this case contacted us and said contrary to the police media release, she was not assaulted and cell phones were not forced to be given to the suspects.
Two men are arrested after Joplin police say they beat two people thought to have money. Police are confident that drugs were not involved in this case, but there is a connection between the suspects and victims.
Police say the crime happened Saturday.
Take a good look at 24-year-old Corey Walstead and especially 22-year-old Travis Morris. Morris is well-known to Joplin police who give a warning about him.
"His crimes tend to be significant, or have a meaningful impact on the community," says Captain Bob Higginbotham with the Joplin Police Department.
We asked Vivian Groom how she would describe her community.
"It kind of takes watching all the time," says Groom.
Groom lives a few houses down from where police say Morris committed his latest crime last weekend.
"Because there's always something that shouldn't be going on here going on," says Groom.
Police say a man and woman arrived home, 1932 West Fourth Street, when Morris and Walstead assaulted them. Police say after Morris struck the woman several times, Walstead kicked-in the door to the home. Inside, Walstead grabbed the male victim in a choke hold and punched him in the head. Police say the female victim tried to flee, but Morris and Walstead threw her to the ground.
"They were very controlling. They forced both of them to remain in the home. They did strip them of their cell phones. Fortunately, the female victim managed to get a 911 call out to us," says Higginbotham.
Police say Morris and Walstead fled the crime scene when they realized the 911 call had been made. The two were later arrested at a bar on West Seventh Street, Rumors Bar.
According to police, the victims knew the suspects, but the exact relationship is unclear.
Court records show Morris has been charged with various crimes at least 10 times in the past 10 years. Police say they've learned they can only do so much with a repeat criminal.
"It's not always as simple as they show it on TV. So, it can be difficult to adequately remove them from the community so we have a safe community," says Higginbotham.
"Make sure that somebody is watching them all the time. That's my idea," says Groom.
Groom knows, though, that one of the best crime deterrents is being a watchful neighbor.
The two suspects have been charged with first degree burglary, second degree robbery, and felonious restraint. Each of their bonds is $15,000 surety and $5,000 cash.
Previous Crime History
On May 4, 2016, police say they served a search warrant at 220 East 33rd Street, and found some clothing items taken from a larceny at Threads, 1302 South Virginia Avenue. Police say they also found 15 oxycodone pills, a .40 caliber pistol, 5.5 grams of marijuana, miscellaneous paraphernalia, and $2,446 cash. Travis Morris was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance, and receiving stolen property.
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