Police say a man is using Craigslist to lure unsuspecting victims into a trap. Investigators believe the same man struck twice near VCU.
VCU Police have a deterrent car at the intersection of West Clay and Hancock streets where two victims were robbed Saturday night. They thought they were going to be selling an iPhone, but that suspect had other motives in mind.
Police say a man robbed two people, a guy and a girl, just before 9:00 p.m. According to a VCU crime alert, the victims had planned on selling the phone on Craigslist. Instead, the suspect demanded their personal belongings at gunpoint. It's an unsettling thought for Matthew Tlusty who is raising a baby in this neighborhood.
"Bringing a baby home, of course that makes me a little nervous," said Tlusty. "You know it's the same game. There have been cons all our life and I think this is just a different twist- using the technology."
Friday, police say the suspect hit again at the same location. That time, it was in broad daylight. Around noon, he met two people, claiming he was going to buy a Craigslist item. Instead he got into their car, showed a gun and took their wallets. The suspect told the victims to leave and not look back.
Police advise people to trust their instincts when it comes to meeting others online they don't know.
"If you say let's go meet somewhere in public and they say they can't do that stick to your plans, don't let them dictate where you're going," said Lt. John Beazley.
Craigslist has some wise reminders when it comes to doing business: Tell a friend or relative where you're going, take your cell phone, always go with someone else and meet in a public, well lit area.
"I found my roommate on Craigslist and I met her at a public place next to the Chipotle right next to the apartment, but it's still in a public place," said VCU Senior, John Junker.
"If you have to go at night go somewhere more well lit," said Beazley. "A busy parking is ideal especially smaller items and items of value like phones jewelry."
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
Police say, in each scenario, the suspect had a tattoo on the back of his right hand and he's roughly 5'10" and weighs about 200 pounds. Officers confirm one person was hurt in these robberies.
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