Edmonton Police warn of escalating violence in personal robberies targeting online sales

Edmonton, Alberta – The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is alerting citizens of escalating violence in a recent string of personal robberies that are targeting those buying/selling electronic devices on buy and sell websites.

Since Sunday, Aug.21, 2022, the EPS has received five reports of personal robberies in northwest Edmonton. In each instance, a citizen responded to or posted an ad for a tablet or mobile phone for sale on an online buy and sell website and agreed to meet a buyer/seller in person at varying locations. Upon arrival, the citizen was robbed of their device and/or cash, in some cases under the threat of a weapon. Violence has been escalating with each incident and to date minor injuries have been reported by the complainants.

File Photo - Cell Phone
File Photo – Cell Phone

To date, more than $8,000 in devices have been reported stolen as a result of these robberies, with thieves primarily targeting buyers/sellers with high priced phones and tablets for sale/purchase on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Investigators believe all five robberies may be linked and are warning citizens buying/selling similar items online to take precautions.

Online Buying & Selling Safety Tips

Suggest meeting the buyer/seller during the day at a public location, ideally with video surveillance, such as one of the EPS Buy and Sell Exchange Zones. Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.

Have someone come with you when you meet. If you cannot arrange for someone to accompany you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you are meeting and all the details about who you are meeting, Let your contact know that everything is ok.

Take screenshots of the buyer’s/seller’s contact information and all communications in the application or website you are using. Ask them for photo ID and other contact information and take a photo of it for your reference.

If you are robbed of your belongings, call for help as soon as it is safe to do so and report any suspicious persons, vehicles, or activities to police.

Anyone who has experienced a personal robbery or has information about these specific crimes is asked 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 at www.p3tips.com/250.

Edmonton Police Service

MRU #: 22R081

“Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve”

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