Oakland police see increase in Craigslist robberies

August 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland police are putting out a warning for anyone who does their shopping on Craigslist. Police don't know if they are dealing with an organized ring or just some individuals, but what they do know is that robberies have spiked in the past few weeks, especially the past few days.

One man says he was robbed at gunpoint when he responded to an ad for a car on Craigslist. He says the seller wanted him to come a quiet section of Berkeley to buy the car. When he showed up he was surprised by two men.

He says he had his wife and two young daughters in the car with him at the time. He also photographed the $6,500 in cash he had with him to pay for the car.

Oakland police say he is the fourth victim this last week in an apparently increasing rash of these robberies.

Oakland Police Officer Johnna Watson says the crimes are similar -- an ad for a car or electronic device is placed on Craigslist. The address is usually in a quiet, upscale Oakland neighborhood. The meet is set between 8 and 9 p.m. Each victim has been robbed at gunpoint usually by men, but a woman was also seen.

Watson says she doesn't know if it's a ring or just some robbers who have found easy targets online who are looking for a bargain. She says that's one of the things to watch out for if you shop on Craigslist.

"Don't carry large amounts of cash; try to stay away from isolated areas, choose areas that are highly populated like parking lots of grocery stores," she said.


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