People trying to sell items via Facebook Marketplace are being robbed in person, even at gunpoint, according to police.
On Tuesday, September 27, the Vancouver Police Department issued a safety warning for anyone selling or trading merchandise online to take additional safety precautions after a series of recent robberies.
In a release, Sgt. Steve Addison said they’ve “seen an uptick in these incidents over the past couple days, and the use of a firearm increases our urgency to identify the people responsible.”
“Though there have been three incidents reported since the weekend, there are likely other victims who have not yet come forward,” he said. Anyone who’s been victimized and hasn’t reached out yet should call police at 604-717-3321.
“Each of these victims took precautions and arranged to meet in a public place,” said Sergeant Addison. “Still, that wasn’t enough to prevent them from being robbed and victimized – and that has us incredibly concerned.
Recent Facebook Marketplace robberies in Vancouver
Champlain Heights – Saturday, September 24
According to police, a 21-year-old man was injured and required medical treatment after trying to sell a used phone. When the victim arrived at the meeting at around 7 pm, he was met by two men in their late teens. They robbed him of his phone, hit him in the head with a weapon, and attacked him with bear spray.
Champlain Heights – Sunday, September 25
A man in his thirties tried to sell two iPhones at around noon. When he met the teenage buyer, he grabbed the phones and ran. The victim was unharmed.
Kerrisdale – Monday, September 26
According to police, a man who was trying to sell a designer watch was robbed at gunpoint. They met someone at a coffee shop in Kerrisdale at around 8 pm. Then, the suspect, who was a man in his 30s with a beard, went inside, pointed a gun, and stole the watch before he fled into a waiting vehicle.
VPD is working to determine if the cases are connected or isolated.
“We have a safe-exchange location that is well lit and monitored by security cameras,” said Sergeant Addison. “This is a safer place to meet if you’re planning on buying or selling something online, and we encourage everyone to use it.”
If you’re meeting anyone to buy or sell, you’re encouraged to do so outside the VPD headquarters at 2120 Cambie Street.