Police: People robbed, shot buying items online

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police are warning everyone who buys and sells items on line to beware. There have been several robberies in the city in the past few days.

“If the offer looks too good to be true than it probably is,” said Portsmouth Police Captain Ken Saucer. “Most of these victims are hardworking citizens. They are carrying large amounts of cash and that’s just a recipe for disaster.”

Officers say they know of at least five robberies. Police say you need to be aware of the red flags.

“The perpetrators are luring citizens into badly light streets after hours when there is very little traffic and they are met with violence and they are being robbed,” Saucer added.

Police want people who use OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to only meet in populated, well-lit areas. There is a safe place in front of police headquarters.

“No spot is 100 percent safe, but anywhere there are lots of places,” Saucer said. “If you go to a gas station parking lot or a Walmart parking lot. Any place where there is lots of traffic.”

Even more concerning for police is that the violence is escalating. Over the weekend a man and a woman were shot on Moton Street trying to buy a cell phone they saw on OfferUp.

“The criminals have upped the stakes,” Saucer added. “There were several robberies and now they started shooting at people. They have started shooting people.”

Police continue to investigate to see if the recent robberies are connected. In the meantime, they want people to think next time they meet up. Offices say OfferUp has suggest for both buyers and sellers.

“Anytime you are asked to come to a strange area carrying a large amount of cash it should be a red flag for you,” Saucer said.

If you have any information on the recent robberies give the Crime Line a call.