Crime trend: Grab and dash from online buyers and sellers



All she wanted was a puppy.

What she got, instead, was a place in the long growing line of victims hit by the latest crime trend – grab and dash from unsuspecting online buyers and sellers.

“This is a trend right now – robbing online sellers and buyers,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal this past week.

“They do the right thing by meeting in a public place but, obviously, that’s not good enough,” Miller said, suggesting online buyers and sellers use the local sheriff’s station parking lot as a sort of online seller sanctuary.

On Aug. 1, a 21-year-old SCV woman found puppies for sale on Craig’s List and agreed to meet the seller in Newhall, Miller said.

“She agreed to pick up the puppies on Newhall Avenue near a restaurant,” she said.

When she met the alleged seller, the suspect grabbed her wallet and took off.

“And, that’s the trend right now,” she said.

Now, Miller is offering some safety advice to anyone looking for a safe place to exchange in person, the merchandise they’ve sold online.

“If you’re going to meet someone in person for the first time, tell them you want to meet in the parking lot of the sheriff’s station,” she said.

“If they don’t agree then you’ll know something was wrong,” she said.

Victims of this popular robbery technique are turning up almost daily.

On the last day of July, a man called deputies after he reported having his $5,000 gold necklace stolen by a male suspect, according to Dep. Brian Rooney in charge of the sheriff’s Zone 2 District covering Castaic and Val Verde.

“The suspect and victim met to test drive a used car that was for sale,” Rooney reported. “The suspect grabbed the victim’s necklace and ripped it off of his neck. The suspect ran to a nearby waiting vehicle and drove off.”

Three days after the necklace robbery, deputies responded to a similar robbery in Valencia.

“A 31-year-old Valencia man had placed an ad to sell his iPhone 6,” Miller told The Signal this week.

“Last Wednesday, he made arrangements to meet a man – the potential buyer – in front of a business located on the 23600 block of Valencia Boulevard,” she said.

“The suspect met him in front of the arranged location and when the victim handed him the phone to inspect, the suspect took off on a skateboard with the phone through the parking lot and out of view,” Miller said.

The grab and dash crime that made headlines this past week was the one that ended with an arrest.

A Canyon Country man accused of carjacking a Toyota Tacoma truck in Bell Gardens was arrested in Canyon Country Tuesday thanks to a savvy quick-thinking carjack victim who allegedly tracked him down, and a bystander who tackled the suspect when confronted.

Akop Oganesyan, described by deputies as a 32-year-old auto detailer, was arrested on suspicion of carjacking, a felony.

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