Craigslist robberies on the rise in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

If you're planning to sell your things to someone you don't know... seller beware.

It's referred to as "robbery by appointment" ... would be robbers scan Craigslist scoping potential victims, they make a call, set an appointment and show up to make a deal.

Kira and Richard turned to Craigslist recently to sell an iPhone. They didn't want us to use their last name.

Kira explains, "I got a call from a guy who wanted to buy it, he didn't have a car so he asked if I could come to meet him."

The buyer wanted the couple to come to his apartment. But they felt safer at the shopping center across the street.

"We had a feeling there might be something fishy," said Richard. "It seemed like a lot of money for a younger kid to have."

When they pulled up it wasn't one, but two guys, two teenagers.

"They asked to see the phone, and I took a couple of steps back," said Kira. "I asked to see the money first, cuz I was afraid of them just grabbing it and running off, and so he just grabbed the phone and ran off."

Both teens ran into the apartments at Cedar and Floradora in Southeast Fresno. It was the second robbery by appointment at that location in less than a month.

Fresno Police Sgt. Mark Hudson says Craigslist robberies are becoming more common. Other cities like Oakland and Los Angeles even have special police task forces in place to deal with the problem.

Sgt. Hudson said, "It's starting to become more common obviously because more people are selling things in this economy, and using the computer to do those things and buyers are looking to buy things."

Sgt. Hudson says if you're selling something agrees to meet at a safe location -- even the parking lot of a local police station. Look around, if you have to wait more than five minutes, the would be robber could be watching you. "Anytime you have a bad feeling about something, trust your instincts."

The safest way to sell is through an account like eBay or amazon.com, paying online, and sending merchandise through the mail.

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