(via Ottawa Police)
The Ottawa Police Service Robbery Unit has laid charges in two overnight robberies that both started with the sale of cell phones using a popular social media site.
On September 19 at approximately 8:40 pm, the male victim was selling a cellular phone after a meeting was arranged using the popular Kijjijji (sic) site. The meeting was arranged to occur on Gallantry Way in Stittsville. Two males attended in a vehicle and the victim met the suspects at the curbside. The phone was provided for viewing to the passenger, and at that point, the driver proceeded to drive off. The victim was dragged by the vehicle for a short distance before falling away from the vehicle. The victim sustained minor injuries as a result of falling to the ground. He was treated at hospital and has since been released.
On September 19, at approximately 9:30 pm, a male victim met two suspects in a parking lot along Crestway Drive near Standherd Drive in Barrhaven. Again, the meeting was arranged using Kijjijji (sic) web site. The passenger of the vehicle exited the vehicle to inspect the phone that was for sale. As the victim stood there, he was suddenly assaulted with a knife. The suspects then fled the scene. The victim sustained a minor injury that did not necessitate further medical attention. The victim was able to obtain vehicle descriptors and relay such to Police.
A short time later, the vehicle was stopped along Longfields Drive by a patrol officer and two suspects were taken in custody without incident. They are charged jointly with the following offences:
* Two (2) counts of robbery
* Possession of a weapon in commission of an offence
Both individuals are separately charged with two (2) counts each of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. One of the suspects was additionally charged with the following offences:
* Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm
* Fail to remain at the scene of an accident
Investigators are concerned that there may be additional victims. The involved vehicle is described as white Audi A4 with a Quebec license plate.
Police would suggest the following safety tips for those who utilize social media sites to arrange meetings and transactions:
- When buying or selling, you should meet in-person to thoroughly inspect the product and then exchange funds. Meet in a public place with many people around, ideally one that is under video surveillance,
- Attend with a second person, and consider leaving your item or cash in a vehicle or with the other person as you assess the credibility of the other party,
- Sellers should always arrange to speak with the potential buyer over the phone ahead of the meet up. If something seems suspicious, walk away,
- It’s up to the seller to choose the location. The buyer should never dictate the terms. At the meeting, write down the licence plate of any vehicle number when they arrive at the meeting.
Should you become a victim of a similar robbery, the following steps are recommended:
- Do not resist your attackers, they may be armed and this could lead to serious injury or death;
- Try and memorize their faces, clothing and license plates if they leave in vehicles
- Report the incident to Police as soon as possible
Both suspects appeared in court on September 20, 2016.
Anyone with information regarding this robbery, or any other robbery, is asked to call the Ottawa Police’s Robbery Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5116. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.