A quick online search turns up story after story of Craigslist transactions turning into robberies and thefts, all over South Florida. A criminal contacts the seller showing interest in an item. When the two parties meet up, the “buyer” either snatches the merchandise or takes the item by force.
It has happened in Boca Raton four times in the last few weeks. The first event occurred on June 4th after the victim advertised her iPhone 5s on Craigslist. After receiving a call from an interested party, the victim met the potential “buyer” in front of her work. The victim handed the phone to the suspect, who ran off with it.
Similar crimes happened twice on June 18th, when two different people advertised their MacBook Pros on Craigslist. One victim had the “buyer” meet him at his place of business. The second victim met the “buyer” in the parking lot of a bank. In both cases, the victim handed the computer to the suspect. In the first instance, the victim grabbed the computer as the suspect tried to flee and was able to wrest it from his grasp. In the second case, the suspect ran off with the computer.
The most recent crime happened Thursday, June 26. The circumstances were the same as the other crimes. A MacBook Pro was advertised on Craigslist and the victim arranged to meet the prospective buyer in a public location, inside the Barnes & Noble at 1400 West Glades Road. The suspect grabbed the computer from the victim’s hands and ran out of the store. We arrested one person involved in this case and we expect additional charges on at least one other suspect.
Police officials across the country are urging sellers on Craigslist to use local police department lobbies to conduct transactions. Be sure to check the operating hours of your local law enforcement facility before you make your arrangements.We invite you to do your deal (legal, that is) at our place. Let’s be careful out there.