Three men are facing charges after a string of 2022 robberies targeting Edmonton-area buyers and sellers on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace.
City police on Tuesday said they first received reports of five personal robberies in northwest Edmonton between Aug. 21, 2022, and Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. In each instance, the victims were responding to an online buy and sell ad regarding a tablet or mobile phone, and agreed to meet the prospective buyer/seller in person at varying locations.
Upon arrival, the victims were confronted and robbed of their devices or cash, sometimes under the threat of a weapon. Police issued a public warning on Sept. 1, 2022 as the violence escalated, with the victims reporting minor injuries at the time.
Investigators confirmed all five robberies were connected and later determined an additional six robberies that took place between August and September 2022 were also linked, including one that took place in Fort Saskatchewan. Police said one of the robberies resulted in non-life-threatening injuries.
In total, the thieves made off with $16,000 in stolen goods, primarily high priced phones and tablets.
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Police have since charged three men in connection to the robberies.
“We are grateful to have made arrests in this series,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Larson in a news release. “Personal robbery can be a traumatic experience, particularly when threatened with a weapon, and we are hopeful these arrests will bring some closure to those citizens impacted.”
Police said to ensure safety when selling or buying from someone online, people should suggest meeting during the day at a public location, ideally with video cameras, have someone come with them when meeting the buyer or seller or let friends or family know, and take screenshots of the buyer’s or seller’s contact information and all communications.
Police advise anyone robbed of their belongings to call for help as soon as it’s safe and report any suspicious people or vehicles.
Decontie Chea, 19, Everisto Yousif, 20, and a 19-year-old man, a youth at the time of the robberies, face a combined 11 robbery charges. The youth was additionally charged with two counts of using an imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence.