'Network' of men using smart phone sales to bait robberies

A "NETWORK" of young men are hoodwinking buyers with the ploy of advertising smart phones for sale and then robbing them at the meet-up.

On several occasions, the men have threatened to shoot and stab victims if they didn't comply.

Ipswich Detective Inspector David Briese said police are investigating four such incidents in Springfield and Goodna between July and September.

Offenders advertise items online and then flee with payment and the phone after meeting potentials buyers and convincing victims to momentarily hand back the phone.

On one occasion, one offender produced a knife and another threatened to shoot a buyer, but did not produce a gun, when they put up a fight.

In the two incidents involving female victims, the offenders escaped with the phones and cash without resistance.

"There's a group of them we believe are a network," Det Insp Briese said.

He urged anyone selling items online and then meeting with a buyer to meet in public, like a restaurant or a coffee shop, and not in isolated spots in a park or an alleyway.

"Have other people with you and just be sure of your surroundings," he said.

The offenders are described as young African men.

If you have information for police, call Police Link on 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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