Tonawanda News

Local News

February 20, 2013

Craigslist buyer attacked in Tonawanda

Tonawanda News — A man responding to a Craigslist advertisement for an iPhone 5 was jumped and attacked by the alleged “sellers” of the device in the Tonawanda Housing Authority, according to police.

The posting was put up on the site Feb. 16 and advertises a “mint condition iPhone 5” for $400. 

“When the alleged seller was contacted, via text message, he instructed the victim to meet in the area of the Tonawanda Housing authority,” a release from the City of Tonawanda Police Department states. “When the victim arrived, he was jumped by two males, while another stood by and watched.”

During the attack, which occurred Sunday night at around 10 p.m., attackers stole the victim’s iPhone 3 before fleeing the scene. 

The victim did not appear to suffer any serious injuries, according to police. 

Detective Timothy Toth said the advertisement, which was still on the Craigslist site as of Tuesday evening, was likely a ruse used to lure the victim.

Toth said the victim, who is in his 20s, was not able to give authorities detailed descriptions of the three men, but there was likely one white male, one black male and the third male could have been Hispanic. The white male may have been wearing a white hooded sweatshirt. 

City investigators are warning residents to be aware of these types of scams by taking notice of the meeting place and time, and by bringing a friend with them when meeting online sellers. 

“The advertisement also said ‘do not call,’” Toth said. “And there was no photo, either. People should be sure to have a conversation and not just text, and try not to have a transaction in the middle of nowhere.” 

Toth said this is the first incident of its kind in the area. 

“We’ve had online scams, but this is the first time we’ve had a local problem with Craigslist,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing and police are asking for assistance from residents. 

Anyone who witnessed the event or has any information on the case is asked to contact the City of Tonawanda Police at 692-2121 ext. 308. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150

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