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Police and fire

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Online iPhone ads lead to thefts

Local police say 4 recently robbed in meeting with sellers

Fort Wayne police are warning the public about robbers who have targeted people looking to buy iPhones advertised on websites such as Craigslist.

Since Aug. 15, at least four people have been held up after responding to iPhone ads posted online. In each case, the victims met with the supposed seller of the phone and were robbed of cash at gunpoint, police reports show.

Some of the meetings happened at night in secluded spots. This is something that police advise against when buying or selling an item through a site like Craigslist.

“Have that exchange take place at a very public place,” Chief Rusty York said. “People just have to use common sense.”

The Aug. 15 robbery happened about 9 p.m. on the city’s southeast side. The buyer made arrangements through the website Instagram to meet the seller at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA on Bowser Avenue, a police report stated.

The two men walked to a nearby house where the seller pulled a gun on the buyer and robbed him of the $150 he’d brought to pay for the iPhone, the report said.

The three other robberies stemmed from iPhone ads placed on Craigslist.

They occurred on the near-northeast side at different points along St. Marys Avenue.

The most recent one was Thursday. The buyer, a man from Angola, met the seller at Spring Street and St. Marys Avenue.

The seller got into the buyer’s car, displayed a handgun and stole $350, the report said.

York said police suspect that one person may be responsible for more than one of the robberies. As far as he knew, no arrests had been made.

aingersoll@jg.net

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