A London man and two youths are among the four people facing charges related to multiple reported incidents of theft and robbery involving online buy-and-sell meetings.
London police say that between Feb. 17 and March 11, online advertisements were placed on buy-and-sell sites advertising cellphones for sale.
Several victims reportedly arranged to meet the seller or sellers to purchase a phone but instead had money stolen from them, according to police.
On one occasion, police say the victim was threatened with a firearm, and in another reported incident, a residence was allegedly broken into and two vehicles stolen while the occupants slept.
“Meet the prospective buyer/seller in a public place, one that is both well illuminated and familiar to you,” Det. Sgt. Ryan Scrivens of the general investigations section said.
Scrivens recommends that people who meet with prospective buyers and sellers do not carry large sums of cash and instead consider an e-transfer once you are satisfied with the condition of the item for sale.
He also says that, when possible, people should get a friend or family member to come with them.
“If the deal is simply too good to be true, recognize that it may be a lure used by a would-be thief,” Scrivens said.
Police are reporting a total of 10 victims related to seven separate alleged incidents, however investigators say there may be additional victims and are urging anyone with information to contact police.
An 18-year-old London man has been charged with robbery with violence or threats, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, three counts of theft under $5,000, assault and uttering threats of death or bodily harm.
Two 15-year-old London youths are also jointly charged with armed robbery, use of a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000, uttering threats of death or bodily harm, assault and two counts of theft under $5,000.
A 24-year-old Etobicoke man is also facing similar charges, including two counts of break-and-enter and fraudulent use of credit card.
Anyone with information in relation to these reported incidents is asked to call the London Police Service at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).