Man orders massage on internet and gets robbed

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police are investigating a robbery they say started on the internet, but ended on Richmond streets. A man says he was robbed at gunpoint after he posted an ad on Craigslist.

Quick police worked nabbed three suspects but Richmond police admit investigating a crime that started on online is a first for them.

"This is a new aspect of criminal investigation for us. We're going from boots on the ground to now having to deal with virtual realities that transpire when a crime is initiated virtually and carried out on the street," said Richmond Police Department Lt. Jan McTernan.

What started on line, ended around 1 a.m. Wednesday on Stuart Street. A man says he solicited a woman for a massage through Craigslist. According to police, the woman showed up with two men who robbed the man at gunpoint in his home.

"We'll try to get the big picture of what really transpired the devils in the details as they say," said McTernan.

Police are questioning these three people who were arrested less than 24 hours later. Each is charged with robbery and grand larceny.

"Craigslist is notorious for scouting around for criminals to scout around for opportunities where they can actually proactively go out and seek victims," said Professor Gurpreet Dhillon, VCU Information Systems.

Professor Dhillon teaches information systems at VCU. Unlike police, he's not surprised by this latest crime.

"This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to reach out to people so that they can be abused," said Dhillon.

He says protecting yourself boils down to three simple tips:

"I wouldn't give out any personal information. I would meet in a public place," he said.

The third, consider the wording of your ad.

"There's always a new crime around the corner," said Dhillon.

Richmond police say the investigation is still open and more charges could come. No word on what was stolen or if it's been returned.

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