FWPD Investigate Craigslist Robberies

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 05/27 2014 01:43PM

Updated 05/27 2014 01:58PM

Have you ever sold or bought anything on Craigslist? The Fort Wayne Police Department is investigating robberies, many of them armed, that occur while buying and selling goods on Craigslist.

WFFT's Brooke Welch spoke with the Allen County Prosecutor and Detectives with the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Since January there have been 9 Craigslist robberies, and 4 of those have taken place in the last few weeks.

Fort Wayne Police Captain Tom Bandor explains why he thinks the robbers are targeting Craigslist transactions.

"They know what the purchase price was, so that they know that cash is going to be there.  They also then rob any extra money or valuables, and also take the victim's cellphone as well."

Captain Bandor says Craigslist crimes are hard to trace.

"They are taking the victim's to a secret location out of public view so the crime can happen without witnesses.  So the victim's cellphone is then stolen from them so they can not alert the police."

In these robberies, the victims can be selling or buying.  It's usually an electronic item and many of the crimes have taken place at local apartment complexes like Golfview, Twin Oaks, and Candlelight Apartments.

Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards says these crimes are a safety concern.

"People have actually taken guns to the transactions to protect themselves but then they get robbed of their gun.  Now, we've got a gun out there with someone who clearly shouldn't have a gun."

WFFT Reporter Tara Petitt experienced a Craigslist robbery firsthand a year and a half ago when she was selling a cellphone.

"I pulled up, he got into my car.  He said he had nosy neighbors and he wanted me to pull up further, so I drove a little bit forward.  Then when we got to where it was completely dark, he asked to see the phone."

Petitt says the robber then asked to compare the IPhone 5 with her IPhone 4 and then told her he was taking both of them.

"That was when he pulled out a gun and pointed it at me and I had to let go and I had no way to call police because he had my phone."

How can you keep this from happening to you?  The FWPD recommends meetings in a well-lit public place during the daytime, taking a friend, and never meeting someone at an apartment building or private residence.

The Police Department encourages anyone with information about these robberies to call Crime Stoppers at 436-STOP.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.