Victim robbed after meeting Craigslist 'buyer'

MANATEE — A Bradenton man was robbed New Year's Eve after agreeing to meet with a would be buyer from Craigslist , the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports.

The transaction for two iPhones was set up via text message and the seller was told to show up shortly before 6 p.m. on New Years Eve in the 3500 block of 14th Street West.

When the victim arrived at the location he was met by two suspects in the apartment complex parking lot. One of the suspects pushed the victim and stole a leather bag containing the phones, valued at $600, according to the report, and the other attempted to get the victim’s keys out of the ignition but failed.

Meanwhile, the Sarasota Police Department released a news release Friday stating that the department is investigating a series of armed robberies where the suspects made contact with the victims via Craigslist by posing as legitimate buyers or sellers.

In those cases two or three men have been robbing people at gunpoint when they arrive at a location to complete an iPhone purchase, the release said.

Craigslist does have safety tips posted on their website to help ensure the safety of buyers and sellers alike. The website states: “The overwhelming majority of Craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned. With billions of human interactions facilitated through Craigslist, the incidence of violent crime has been extremely low. Nevertheless, it’s very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.”

These tips include meeting in a public space, like a cafe, being careful when buying/selling high value items, telling family and friends where you are going, having a friend accompany you, taking a cell phone and trusting your instincts.

Anyone with information on the this case should contact the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 747-3011 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).