Durham police warn of robberies when buyers, sellers meet for deals

From staff reportsDecember 28, 2012 

— Police say a new robbery technique uses Internet selling on social networking sites and other ways of making deals to set up victims.

The victims can be sellers or buyers who agree to a meeting to trade merchandise for cash.

In a Dec. 15 incident, a man who had advertised on Craigslist that he had phones to sell met a supposed buyer in a parking lot on West Morgan Street during the afternoon. The buyer used pepper spray to disable the seller and made off with the phones, police said.

Dec. 21, a man who thought he was going to buy an iPad from a man he had met at a flea market went to Discovery Way to meet him about 8:30 p.m.

Instead of the computer, he found a man with a gun who took his keys and wallet.

Police said people can take steps to protect themselves:

Be cautious and trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, leave.

Meet in a public place (for example, a fast-food restaurant).

Meet during daylight hours.

Tell a friend or family member where you are going.

Take a friend with you, if possible.

Do not carry large amounts of cash.

Do not divulge personal information.

Be wary of last minute changes in the meeting location.

Save any and all communications with the seller/buyer (text messages, emails, voicemails, etc.).

Bring your phone.

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