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Prosecutor, police warn about 'appointment robberies'

Urging area residents to use caution when negotiating and carrying out a transaction, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards warned Friday about a recent spike in “appointment robberies.”

In a news conference with Fort Wayne police Capt. Tom Bandor, the police department’s liaison officer to the prosecutor’s office, Richards urged would-be buyers and sellers to use caution in the physical end of transactions initiated online.

The robberies center on transactions initiated via Craigslist, the free online classified service.

Victims may be selling an item, but typically believe they are meeting a potential seller of electronic equipment such as gaming systems or cell phones.

But the transactions turn into robberies, often in darkened areas behind apartment buildings, leaving the victims without the money they brought for the purchase and their own cell phones or other items.

Bandor urged those who use the site and similar services to conduct the transactions in public places, particularly those with surveillance cameras in place, and to avoid meeting at private residences or apartment buildings.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Saturday.