Crime & Courts

He pushed her down and stole her iPad. Later she recognized him – in an ad for the iPad.

Robberies connected to person-to-person sales apps have been happening in Charlotte for months – but one robbery victim had an unusual experience when she went back on one of the apps after losing her iPad.

The woman tried to use the app letgo, which works like a next-generation Craigslist for local sales, to sell her iPad Pro, according to a search warrant. A letgo user named “Mike” responded to her listing, and they decided to meet at a northeast Charlotte apartment complex in the middle of the day on Oct. 16.

When she arrived at the apartment complex, someone texted her identifying himself as “Kobe,” the search warrant said.

She walked to the front of the leasing office, where someone approached her and said he was there to buy the iPad. Then he pushed her, grabbed the iPad and ran away.

The woman wasn’t hurt, but she was out an iPad valued at about $350, the search warrant said.

By the next day, the woman told Charlotte-Mecklenburg police that she had found an ad on OfferUp – an app similar to letgo – selling an iPad “very similar in appearance to hers” with a photo of the man as the screen saver.

She said it was the same person who had robbed her. His account even used the name “Kobe,” just like the text she had received before the robbery.

Police recently searched the letgo and OfferUp accounts associated with the robbery and its aftermath. Police arrested 17-year-old Kobe Ford.

Kobe Ford
Kobe Ford Mecklenburg County jail

OfferUp and letgo have been involved in several other robberies since May, according to records, and one case turned deadly.

Zachary Finch, a 21-year-old college baseball player, used letgo in June and agreed to meet at an apartment complex to exchange a phone. He was killed in the middle of the day, and three people have been charged with his murder.

On Oct. 26, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police announced that 14 QuikTrip convenience stores will be designated “safe exchange” locations, with parking spaces marked with red stripes and monitored by surveillance cameras.

The safe exchange locations aren’t established yet, police said Thursday.

Police have also recommended meeting in the parking lot of a police station and making sure someone knows where you’re going to make these exchanges.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester