Greensboro Police Warn About ‘Robbery by Appointment’

From by Ed Scannell, September 4, 2013

Police say it happens about once a week in Greensboro, and it’s a problem around the country: a person selling or buying an item advertised online meets someone and is robbed. It’s called “robbery by appointment.”

Online classified ad sites like Craigslist can be a good way to buy or sell items including electronics such as iPhones, laptops and iPads, but police warn the in-person meeting to do the deal sometimes can be a setup.

“The suspects are either trying to sell an item or buy an item and they set up these appointments to meet at these locations,” said detective Ethan Ellsworth. “They’re setting up their victims either to steal the electronic device or steal their money.”

Location is critical, so, beware of people who switch locations at the last minute.

“Or [beware of those who] bring you to locations where you’ve never been before,” said Ellsworth.

Meet during the day in places where a lot of people are around.

“You can come to a police parking lot of any police station,” Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth said resisting a robber can be dangerous.

A recent case in point occurred when a Virginia man traveled to Greensboro to buy a laptop, “to meet in [an] abandoned parking lot area,” Ellsworth said. “In that case, he tried to resist and was shot in the stomach.”

A frequent Craigslist user said it was a great way to buy and sell but it paid to be cautious.

“I always make sure that I have a couple of conversations with them,” said Craigslist user Paul Trogdon. “You know, if somebody’s too eager to get something, I’ll back off for something like that.”

Ellsworth said police had been able to solve some of these robberies by appointment, but unfortunately many had gone unsolved.

“So, it’s a continued effort and hopefully working with the victims we can help them prevent these crimes from occurring,” Ellsworth said.

Published in: on September 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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