Remember when Akron was shocked by robberies? Well it’s back again. In the past ten days, three separate armed robberies have been reported stemming from Craigslist sales arranged in Akron, Ohio. The perpetrator appears to be targeting Craigslist Akron users attempting to sell smartphones and other electronics.
According to local police, the suspect tells sellers to meet up on Alphada Avenue to complete the transactions. When sellers arrive, the culprit brandishes a gun and demands the devices before fleeing on foot.
The Robbery Pattern Emerges
The first known robbery took place on July 30th. The victim described meeting the supposed buyer on Alphada Ave. to sell an iPhone as arranged on Craigslist Akron. Upon arrival, the buyer pulled out a gun and seized the phone.
Just over a week later on August 8th, another similar incident occurred. The next victim had arranged on Craigslist to sell a used MacBook Pro laptop. When meeting the buyer on Alphada Ave., she was promptly robbed at gunpoint.
Most recently on August 18th, a mother hoping to sell her Galaxy S8 phone to raise money for back-to-school shopping fell prey to the same trap. Despite taking a neighbor for safety, she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun soon after arriving at the planned meetup spot.
Fear and Sadness Among Victims
For one mother robbed of her Galaxy S8, the ordeal left her shaken and mournful. She described the perpetrator seeming like a child despite the violent crime.
“He looked like a child to me,” she recalled. “He stuck a gun in our face and took us for a phone.”
The woman had hoped to use the cash from selling the used phone to buy a pink backpack for her 14-year-old daughter heading back to school. “I wanted to get her a pink backpack and he took that,” she lamented.
Even taking the precaution of bringing a neighbor along in broad daylight did not prevent the sudden armed robbery. “He walked to the passenger side of the car and the next thing I know, there is a gun in our face saying, ‘Gimme that phone,’ and he grabbed the phone and was gone in no time,” she described.
For all three victims, despite attempts to meet cautiously in a public area, the exchanges quickly turned into terrifying confrontations.
Police Issue Warning About Craigslist Sales
Akron police have announced they are actively investigating the string of robberies targeting Craigslist Akron users meeting in the 1400 block of Alphada Ave.
They advise extreme caution when buying or selling items via Craigslist, especially expensive electronics that can be quickly resold. The trend of arranging to meet on Alphada Ave. is particularly suspicious and risky.
Police recommend always meeting buyers and sellers in well-lit, busy locations such as outside a police station. They also suggest bringing a friend or family member as an extra precaution.
Protecting Yourself When Using Craigslist Akron
Here are some tips for safely buying and selling on Craigslist in Akron:
- Meet in a safe public place, like a mall or police station lobby. Avoid secluded spots.
- Do not go alone. Bring a friend or family member with you.
- Avoid nighttime meetups. Arrange exchanges during daylight hours.
- Be wary if the buyer/seller insists on meeting in a strange location.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy, don’t proceed with the sale.
- Conduct transactions inside buildings when possible, not sitting in parked cars.
- Be extra cautious when selling valuable items like phones, computers, game consoles, etc.
- Don’t bring the item itself when first meeting. Wait until you feel comfortable.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Bring only what you need for the item.
- Notify someone of where you are going and share location on your phone.
Exercising caution when buying and selling is always wise. But following the latest police warnings and safety tips can help deter becoming the next target of the recent string of armed Craigslist Akron robberies.