Crime & Courts

CMPD: Do your Craigslist deal at a police station parking lot

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials have a suggestion for anyone agreeing to buy something off Craigslist.

Meet the seller at a CMPD division office parking lot, police officials suggest.

That is one of several safety precautions offered by police in the wake of at least three armed robberies in August involving supposed Craigslist purchases. In each case, police said, the victim agreed to meet sellers at a location but was robbed instead.

Authorities arrested three men earlier this month in connection with the robberies.

On Aug. 17, a man reported being assaulted and robbed in the 500 block of Klondike Lane in north Charlotte. He had gone there to buy a cellphone advertised on Craigslist, police said. The same thing happened to another victim Aug. 19 on Dedmon Drive, also in north Charlotte.

And on Aug. 28, a man once again agreed to meet a cellphone seller in the 500 block of Klondike Lane but instead was assaulted.

On Sept. 2, police reported arresting Chris Bennett, 16, Deonte Stitt, 20, and Tadarian Lindsey, 22, in connection with the robberies.

Some suggestions from police to those who use Craigslist, Facebook or other social media sites for purchases:

• If you agree to meet the buyer or seller, but that person’s profile disappears from the site, don’t do business with that person.

• Be very suspicious of the buyer or seller changes the agreed-upon meeting place.

• Always meet the buyer or seller in a public place, with plenty of people around. Avoid side streets or places that are not well lit.

• Always take someone with you, and inform the buyer or seller that you will not be alone.

• Consider conducting the transaction in the parking lot of a CMPD division office.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer