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Waterloo Regional Police launch new robbery education campaign

Waterloo Regional Police have launched a robbery education campaign to bring awareness to three different types of robberies that have been occurring regularly in the region.

The campaign, entitled #OnceUponACrime, showcases real stories of real people who have fallen victim to different types of robberies in Waterloo Region. The robberies fall into three categories: online buy/sell, food delivery, and person-on-person. Along with stories, safety tips will be provided to help prevent residents from falling victim to crime.

During the month of July, the focus will be on how to protect yourself when buying or selling an item online. Many of these robberies stem from online classified ads, which allow criminals an opportunity to remain anonymous while taking advantage of unsuspecting buyers and sellers, police noted in a release.

John’s Story

Looking for a little extra money, John decided to post his iPhone 6 online for $400. Shortly after posting, he received a text message from a male who was interested in purchasing the phone. John didn’t know it, but the ‘buyer’ was using a fake account.

John and the ‘buyer’ continued to text and eventually decided to meet outside an apartment complex in Kitchener. John wasn’t familiar with the area but agreed to the meeting spot anyway.

John arrived around 6:30 p.m. but couldn’t see anyone. He texted the ‘buyer.’

“Where are you?” he asked.

A message came back.

“Meet me at the right of the building. I’m wearing a black sweater.”

There was no way for John to know that this was an attempt by the ‘buyer’ to get John away from security cameras and into a darker area.

John approached and the two shook hands.

Then, things took a turn for the worse.

John was sprayed with a substance in his eyes. The robber grabbed the cell phone and ran off.

John found his way back to his vehicle and called police.

If you are looking to buy or sell an item online, you are encouraged to:

  • Check the buyer’s/seller’s name through an online search engine such as Facebook, Instagram or Google.
  • Don’t provide any personal information.
  • Ask about the history of the item being sold.
  • Do not transfer/provide money to the person before receiving the product.
  • Meet in a well-lit public location that has surveillance cameras (a police detachment is always an option).
  • Be wary of locations changing at the last minute.
  • Bring a friend, or let someone know when and where your meeting is taking place.
  • If anything appears suspicious, call police immediately.
  • If you become a victim of a robbery, you are encouraged to call police immediately. Providing a description of the suspect(s) and the last direction of travel will also assist police in their efforts in locating potential suspects.

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