Police warn of online selling dangers after alleged knifepoint robbery
EDMONTON- The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is warning consumers to be cautious when buying or selling items online, after two people were allegedly robbed at knifepoint during a potential vehicle sale.
Police were called to a weapon’s complaint in the area of 32 Street and 16A Avenue around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday. A 23-year-old man told police he and his friend were held at knifepoint by three suspects who then stole his 1995 Subaru WRX and $3,200 cash. The man brought the cash with him because he was in the process of potentially buying a vehicle he saw advertised online.
“He did go with a friend, so he did take proper steps to protect himself,” said Scott Pattison, spokesperson with EPS. “Unfortunately when he arrived, it’s a new neighbourhood…a new housing development, no residents in those houses still under construction. So he felt in his gut when he rolled up that perhaps something wasn’t right, but by that time it was too late.”
Police say the three male suspects abandoned the man’s vehicle near 32 Street and 18 Avenue, before leaving the area in a late model green sedan.
The three male suspects are described as being East Indian, in their mid-to-late 20s, and were wearing black hoodies at the time of the incident. Officers believe one of the suspects was wearing an “Angry Birds” T-shirt at the time.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
This incident comes less than a week after a similar case where a 23-year-old man was kidnapped at knifepoint in the Callingwood area and driven to Calgary. The alleged abduction happened on Sunday, after the victim met two men who were supposedly interested in buying the man’s vehicle. An ad for the vehicle was posted online in this case as well. Two men have since been charged in connection with the alleged abduction.
“Unfortunately, bad guys are quick to identify ways they can lure and perpetrate crimes and the online advertising world is fast becoming one of those,” warned Pattison.
Earlier this year, Tim Bosma of Hamilton, Ont., was killed after taking two men for a test drive in the pickup truck he was selling. His charred remains were later discovered on a property owned by Dellen Millard.
Millard and Mark Smich have been charged with first-degree murder in Bosma’s death, and both plan to plead not guilty.
To protect themselves, police say consumers should take the following precautions when buying or selling anything online:
- Take someone with you when completing the transaction
- Make sure you meet in a very public place
- Don’t bring cash with you
- Always let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back
For more information on how you can protect yourself when buying or selling anything online, visit the Edmonton Police Service’s website.
With files from the Canadian Press