Police open stations for merchandise exchanges after string of Craigslist robberies

A recent spate of gunpoint robberies linked to bogus Craigslist ads has prompted Philadelphia police to open three Northeast stations for merchandise exchanges. Members of the public who wish to sell an item to or purchase an item from a stranger in a safe environment may do so in the lobbies of the 2nd/15th district, the 7th district or the 8th district.

Sgt. Joseph Mortimer said that at least seven robberies have been reported in the 15th district since late November involving Craigslist ads. Typically, someone will advertise a product for sale, such as a used iPhone, on the web-based classified service. A victim will respond to the ad and arrange a private meeting to conduct the sale. In some instances, however, the would-be seller shows up with a gun and steals the purchaser’s money without delivering the item.

There were five such crimes reported between Dec. 10 and 16, mostly in the Frankford area, Mortimer said. In some cases, there was one robber. In others, multiple crooks took part in the stick-up.

The 2nd/15th district station is at 2831 Levick St. The 7th district is at 1701 Bowler St. The 8th district is at Red Lion and Academy roads. ••