An alleged cellphone thief messed with the wrong family yesterday during a Facebook Marketplace sale.
Victoria police say officers were called to Hillside Mall at around 6:30 p.m. for a report of a theft and foot chase. When officers arrived, they found a male suspect being restrained.
Police said they then learned that the suspect had arranged to meet a women through Facebook Marketplace to purchase her used cellphone in the food court area. However, when handed the phone under the pretense for examining it for the sale, the suspect took off.
However, family members of the woman stopped the man and restrained him until police arrived. He was then taken into custody by patrol officers, and later released pending a later court date.
Police say it wasn’t the only “Snatch and Dash” of the day. At around 1:30 p.m. officers were called to the 2200-block of QuadraStreet for the report of a robbery in progress. Officers discovered that the victim had arranged to sell a used iPhone 10 through Facebook Marketplace.
The suspect fled after being handed the phone for examination. The suspect, whose description closely resembles that of the later incident according to police, is described as a black man wearing a black windbreaker, red pants and carrying a beige backpack.
Police say these types of thefts are rare but say there are several things you can do to stay safe when arranging to meet someone for a private sale of a valuable item like a used cellular phone:
- Arrange to meet the person in a public place. VicPD’s lobby at 850 Caledonia Avenue is open and available as an exchange location from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- If the other party won’t meet you in a public location or our lobby, don’t meet them.
- Bring friends or family members with you when arranging the exchange.
- Where possible, use more than one method to communicate with the person you are selling to or buying from.
Officers are asking for additional witnesses to either incident to come forward. If you witnessed what happened or have any information that would help their investigation, contact 250-995-7654, or call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-22-8477.