A Parkland 17-year-old was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday while trying to sell an iPhone 4, police said.
The incident is similar to two others this month, when a teen and an adult from Broward used Craigslist to sell their dirt bikes to someone in Miami-Dade County, who drove off with them during test drives and never returned.
The Parkland teen used Facebook to set up an initial meeting with the prospective buyers outside a Big Lots store at 725 N. University Drive.
The two buyers — identifed by Coral Springs Police as Deandre Chambers, 24, of Lauderhill, and a juvenile male, 17, from Coral Springs — and the phone seller then drove in their separate vehicles to a second location, the nearby Savannah Apartments at 711 Riverside Drive.
The buyers got into the seller’s car, a Mercedes Benz ML320, and the juvenile put a gun against the victim, who resisted, Coral Springs Police Sergeant Brad McKeone said.
Chambers and the juvenile left with the phone and $40 taken from the car’s console, but the victim followed them to the Coral Square Mall parking lot, investigators said, and alerted motorcycle officers who happened to be training there.
Chambers was arrested in Macy’s, where McKeone said the stolen phone was found.
The juvenile was arrested at a Tamarac home, where the car used during the robbery was parked, police said.
A Broward County judge ordered Chambers held without bond Wednesday on one charge of robbery with a firearm. The juvenile was taken to an assessment center, McKeone said.
Police say you can protect yourself during face-to-face transactions that begin online.
“We’ve said it time and time again,” said McKeone, the Coral Springs sergeant. “Meet in a public place. It can’t hurt to meet in a police department parking lot.”
McKeone said a mall food court is also a good location, and bringing a friend is smart.
“Don’t isolate yourself,” he said. “Going into an apartment complex puts you into a bad situation where there are not a lot of potential witnesses.”
If the other party wants to move elsewhere, cancel the sale, and don’t get in their car.
“If they try and change a location, ask why?” McKeone said. “You never know who you are meeting. People misrepresent themselves. You hear about that all the time.”
He said though people feel comfortable setting up such transactions on Facebook, Craigslist and eBay, they should “try and verify the person’s identity. And don’t bring large amounts of cash.”
Those trading in highly desirable items like cellphones and jewelry should be extra cautious.
“If it seems too good to be true, walk away,” McKeone said. “Be alert about what’s going on. Make a plan and stick to it.”
Ltrischitta@tribune.com, 954-356-4233 or Twitter @LindaTrischitta