Police: Robbers strike Craigslist users

Similar robberies take place at Southside apartment complexes last week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - At least 3 Southside residents say they were robbed last week when they thought they were meeting someone to make a Craigslist deal.

"I would say people need to be relatively wary," said one victim, who wants to remain anonymous.

Investigators say the first crime happened at the Glades Apartments off Southside Boulevard. It was about 7:30 p.m., and police said the robbers asked the two men who were trying to sell a laptop to go inside to a breezeway so they could plug it in and make sure it really worked.

Police said once they got in the hallway, the robbers pulled out two handguns and demanded everything the men had.

"All the suspects appear to be black males. They are armed and dangerous," said Officer Melissa Bujeda, of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. "The one always has a small-caliber handgun and the other has a very large-caliber handgun. It's a very violent crime. It's threatening in manner."

Police said the very next day at about 2:30 p.m., the same robbers apparently were at it again, this time at the Sonoma Apartments, just a few complexes up Southside Boulevard from the complex where the last crime took place.

Detectives say the method of operation was the same. The robbers lured their victim into a breezeway, one where most people can't see what's going on, and pulled out guns.

No one was hurt, but the men got away.

"These individuals in each situation did exactly what the suspects wanted them to do," Bujeda said. "But what's going to happen next time? Is it going to get worse?"

Police say it's important to be very careful during and before any possible Craigslist contact. One of the victims says he's learned his lesson.

"I do believe it's possible to meet people and do business if you're smart about it and if you really make those hard-and-fast rules to stand by, meeting in a public place and getting to know the buyer or seller," he said.

Anyone with any information about the robberies or the robbers' identities is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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