Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

iPhone robber lures victims to the North End

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The public is being warned about a man who lures eager iPhone fans to the North End on the pretext of selling them an iPhone 5 but robs them at gunpoint instead.

The same scenario played out twice in the last week, most recently Tuesday night and before that on Feb. 6.

Winnipeg police said victims were lured to the same area and the description of the suspect in both incidents is similar.

WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said everyone is looking for a good deal but cautioned that buying items from online classified ad sites can be potentially dangerous.

"We live in an age where a lot of interaction with the public occurs online," Michalyshen said. "But we don’t always know who we’re dealing with on the other end.

"You are engaging in an activity where there is a relatively high level of risk."

The victims of the Tuesday night incident contacted the Free Press to tell their harrowing ordeal.

The couple saw an ad on the online classified service Kijiji for an iPhone5 and made arrangements through email to meet the seller at his home in the 300 block of Magnus Avenue at about 7:30 p.m.

The couple said they arrived but thought the scene was unsafe, so contacted the seller via email and asked him to meet them at their car.

The seller insisted the couple go to the door.

But when the couple went to the home, the resident said he knew nothing about the ad.

As the couple were getting into their vehicle, they were confronted by a male with a sawed-off shotgun who demanded their money.

"I got in and then my girlfriend but before she could close the car door, he placed the gun barrel inside so she couldn’t close the door," the 22-year-old man said. "He pointed the barrel at her. She was really scared.

"He wanted the money. We gave it to him and then he told us to drive off and he took off."

The couple said they are convinced the robber was the same person who they had been dealing with and that he gave them the false address simply to lure them there to rob them.

The couple drove a block, pulled over and called police.

The police canine unit was brought to the scene. Winnipeg police confirmed the robbery and that no arrests have been made.

The couple said police told them Tuesday night another robbery in a similar fashion had taken place a week before.

Michalyshen said a 21-year-old man was robbed in a similar fashion the night of Feb. 6 in the 300-block of Burrows Avenue.

Michalyshen said it was clear in both cases that the victims were lured to the North End, with the suspect knowing they would be carrying a large amount of cash.

In both instances, similar descriptions of the robber were provided:  Male, aboriginal in appearance, between 5’11" and  6’2" tall, medium build, clean shaven, wearing dark clothing and possibly in possession of a long gun.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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