Hartford police are urging users of online auction apps to be careful after a string of armed robberies was reported.
According to Deputy Chief Brian Foley, the robberies were related to the Offer-Up and Let-Go phone applications.
“Awareness is first," Foley said. "Understand you’re making yourself a victim if you’re coming in here with a boatload of cash expecting to get a deal of a lifetime in a neighborhood you’re unfamiliar with.”
Foley said there have been six reported incidents, four of which happened in the Blue Hills neighborhood. The other two happened at 68 Deerfield Ave. Sept. 13 at 144 Westminster St. Offer-Up gunpoint robbery. Victims were from MA and were trying to buy an iPhone 7 for $350. Sept. 19 at 144 Burnham St. Offer-Up gunpoint robbery, Victims were from Bristol trying to buy a car. Cell phone and $3,000 in cash taken. Oct. 5 at 68 Deerfield Ave. Let-Go gunpoint robbery. Victims were from Waterbury trying to buy an iPhone. Blue lighter and $200 in cash taken. Oct. 7 at 276 Branford St. Offer-Up gunpoint robbery. Victims were from West Hartford trying to buy an iPhone 7. $400 taken. Oct. 13 at 68 Deerfield Ave. Let-Go gunpoint robbery. Victims were from New Britain trying to buy a car. Cell phones, purses and $100 taken. Oct. 14 at 144 Burnham St. Let-Go gunpoint robbery. Victims were from East Hartford and Bloomfield trying to buy a car. Phones and $662 taken.All six incidents have had similar circumstances and suspect descriptions.
"These are younger guys, it’s a learned behavior," Foley said.
Police said they have a number of ongoing operations. They said they've been very successful in making arrests for these kinds of robberies.
No injuries were reported.
Police sought to remind people that their headquarters parking lot is available for online transactions.It’s a safe spot where you can buy and sell items and everything is recorded.
"Be safe and be smart. If someone doesn’t want to meet you in the police department parking lot," Foley said. "That’s a red flag."
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