Calgary, AB,

Additional charges laid in series of online marketplace thefts

We have charged a third suspect in relation to a series of robberies and thefts that occurred during buy-and-sell transactions for electronics advertised for sale online.

Between Sunday, April 23, 2023, and Monday, May 29, 2023, 15 robberies and thefts occurred across the city after multiple sellers posted iPhones for sale online.  We previously reported 12 robberies and thefts occurred, but we can now confirm with the arrest of a third suspect that a total of 15 incidents occurred. 

It is believed multiple suspects were posing as the same prospective buyer, using the same Facebook profile with the name “Chris Luma.”

Earlier this month, two suspects, an 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, were arrested and charged. On Monday, June 12, 2023, investigators arrested a third suspect, another 15-year-old boy, in the 0-100 block of Lincoln Way S.W.

As a result, he has been charged with one count of assault, one count of resisting arrest, two counts of robbery and two counts of theft under $5,000.

He will next appear in court on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. 

Both youths cannot be named under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Calgary Police Service reminds Calgarians of the following safety tips when engaging in buy-and-sell transactions:

  • Be cautious of selling to online profiles that have recently been created, and that have few, if any, personal photos or “friends."

  • Always meet in a public place where there is CCTV coverage, such as a coffee shop or a police district parking lot. Consider taking someone along with you. Refrain from going to a stranger’s house to deliver items or arranging to meet at your own residence.
  • Request an e-transfer as payment, instead of cash. This will usually act as a deterrent for potential thieves, as the transaction can be documented. 
  • Don’t factory reset your phone until the sale has been completed. (If the phone is stolen, you can track it with “Find My App.”)

  • Stay alert and observe your surroundings. If something feels wrong (like an overly nervous buyer), back away from the sale.

  • Always report suspicious people, behaviour or crimes in progress to law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.

We encourage anyone who has been a victim of a theft or a robbery during a buy-and-sell transaction to report the incident to police so that evidence can be gathered and investigated in a timely manner. Crimes can be reported by calling the police non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or by calling 9-1-1 for a crime in progress.

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