Hartford PD: mother, daughter robbed trying to buy iPhone from OfferUp app

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HARTFORD — Hartford police are searching for a suspect after another online auction transaction went wrong.

Police said that on Saturday at around 9:15 p.m., a Meriden mother and daughter went to an area near 466 Edgewood Street in Hartford to buy an iPhone 7 that they saw advertised through the OfferUp app, which is an online auction site visitors can use to buy and sell items, similar to the website craigslist.

When they got there, a man approached and pulled a gun on them, demanding money. The victim reported she was robbed of $400 as she drove off, dragging the suspect until he fell off on Enfield Street.

The victim and her daughter were unhurt. The suspect is described as a 19-year-old black man with a medium build, wearing a red compression shirt with a hood.

Hartford police said over the past few months they investigated several incidents of social media-related robberies and carjackings, where victims were lured to the location through OfferUp.

Of the eight cases being investigated, none of the victims were Hartford residents, according to police, but some victims came from as far as Lawrence and Springfield, Massachusetts; Middletown, East Hartford, and New Britain.

The Hartford Police want to remind the public that the front parking lot to the Public Safety Complex at 253 High Street can be utilized as a safe meeting location for internet transactions.

Police offer the following tips to stay safe when conducting business online:

  • Insist to meet at a very public place such as the Hartford Police Department.
  • Don’t go alone.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Do not meet in a secluded area.
  • Do not invite strangers into your home, and do not go to theirs.
  • Be cautious when buying/selling high value items.
  • Perform the transaction during daylight hours.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is.
  • Tell a friend or family member about your intentions.
  • Meet in location where video surveillance is likely (or bring your own)