Edmonton police make arrest in Kijiji cellphone scams

Edmonton police are warning people using Kijiji to sell cellphones to be cautious after four robberies were reported. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Edmonton police arrested a man in relation to a scam where people looking to sell a cellphone on Kijiji ultimately got robbed instead.

According to police, four people were robbed after arranging to meet with a man who was interested in purchasing a phone.

Police said the suspect would use a fake name and phone number in order to arrange the sale. In two cases, he reportedly used a female-sounding name.

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Each time, the suspect arranged to meet the buyer at Northgate Centre, North Town or the Northgate Transit Centre to complete the sale, police say.

“It was reported that, each time, when the suspect met with the seller, he asked them to unlock the phone and then robbed the seller by showing them what appeared to be a handgun in a holster on his person,” police said in a news release on Wednesday.

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In two instances, the seller was a lone woman, and police said the suspect got into the alleged victims’ vehicles with them before robbing them.

“On each occasion, the suspect walked away on foot after threatening the complainants by saying he had taken a photo of their licence plate and knew how to find them,” police said.

All the robberies happened between June 8 and June 18, police said.

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After a news release was issued Wednesday morning to warn the public to exercise caution, another complainant came forward to police to report a similar robbery.

None of the alleged victims reported the man removing his gun from his holster.

On Thursday, police said the EPS Cyber Crime Investigations Unit was able to use the Kijiji transactions to trace the suspect and he was arrested Wednesday evening.

Aladeen Kadiry, 20, is facing five counts each of robbery with a firearm and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.

“When we have a series of armed robberies happening, this is something we take very seriously,” EPS Det. Calvin Mah said in the news release issued on Thursday.

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“While we were in the process of warning the public and seeking tips, our Cyber Crime Investigations Unit was also working on trying to identify the suspect, and I’m happy to say we were able to do that.”

Police still believe there may be additional complainants and are asking them to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.

Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

More tips to keep safe are available on the Edmonton police website.

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