Fenton police are warning individuals against meeting unknown people in random parking lots when selling or buying an item discussed over social media.
Two local residents were recently scammed; one of whom was robbed at gunpoint.
Lt. Jeff Cross of the Fenton Police Department said a 29-year-old Holly woman agreed to meet an unknown buyer she had communicated with through Facebook Messenger at a gas station in the 3200 block of Owen Road at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26. She was selling her iPhone X for $600. Cross said if new, the phone would be valued at $1,500.
The buyer, described as a black male, between 20 and 30 years old, gave her $600 cash and she gave him the phone.
The suspect then left. Shortly after, the woman examined the cash and discovered that it was “for motion picture use only” money. She immediately drove to the Fenton police station to report the fraud. This case is under investigation.
A similar transaction occurred Dec. 5.
Cross said a 23-year-old Holly man agreed to meet an unknown buyer for his PlayStation 4 in the parking lot of a big box store in the 3700 block of Owen Road at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. The man and the buyer had communicated through the app “letgo,” which lets people buy and sell used items.
The Holly man gave the buyer the PlayStation 4 and the buyer pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the man and told him to get back into his car. The suspect in this armed robbery got into an unknown vehicle and drove away. The suspect was described as a heavy set black male, between 20 and 30 years old. This case also is under investigation
Cross said the Fenton Police Department is advising anyone who makes a transaction over the internet to meet the buyer or seller in the lobby of the Fenton police station (311 S. LeRoy St.), which is open 24/7. Someone with the police department is always there and the area has security cameras for everyone’s safety.
“You are welcome to meet here for any transaction,” Cross said. “We advise people to do that.”
In both of these cases, the transaction was done in close proximity of U.S. 23, which allows suspects to flee the area quickly. “It’s happening more and more,” Cross said.