Online Sale Meet-Ups Often Go South, Police Say

Wednesday, March 21st 2018, 6:48 pm
By: News On 6

Detectives have arrested one person and are looking for another after a man is kidnapped and robbed at knifepoint during a cell phone deal gone wrong.

3/20/2018 Related Story: Tulsa Teen Accused Of Robbing, Kidnapping Victim

Detectives said this type of robbery happens every week.

The victim met with the person selling the phone at a QuikTrip, thinking it would be safer to meet in a public place but it wasn't.

Just scroll through Facebook Marketplace and you can find great deals on everyday items.

However, Sergeant Brandon Watkins with the Tulsa Police Robbery Unit warns some of these deals could be deceptive.

"You're taking a risk anytime you're dealing with an off-the-market sort of thing," he said. 

Police just worked a case where a man was robbed at knifepoint trying to buy a phone advertised through Facebook Marketplace.

"They crawl into his car, choked him, held him at knifepoint and forced him to go to another location in order to pull some money," Sergeant Watkins said. 

The surprising part is that the victim did things police recommend like meeting in a public place.

"He was smart and he didn't bring the cash with him he said he wanted to look at the phone first and obviously make sure it's going to be a legit transaction,” Watkins said. 

But even with all of that, things still went bad.

"These guys are pretty brazen," Watkins said. 

Tulsa police arrested Deangelo McDowell and are looking for a second man in connection with the robbery.

Sergeant Watkins said robberies like this one happen more often than you'd think.

"This happens a couple times a week at a minimum. It just is constant," Watkins said. 

He suggests if you're going to meet someone for a marketplace deal, do it at a police station or in the lobby of your bank.

And before making the arrangements check their Facebook profile. 

Watkins said to look for questionable posts and always remember if the deals look too good to be true, they are.  

Police said it's not just Facebook it’s also Craigslist, the Let-Go app, and any other site where you can buy, sell and trade items.