Cellphone purchase opportunity turns into robbery

A local man who said he arranged to purchase a cellphone on Facebook told police he was robbed when trying to complete the transaction.

The victim told Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies he arranged to buy a cellphone and picked up the seller and drove him to a residence where the seller claimed to live, deputies said.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Warner was sent to the 8700 block of West Old Nashville Road about 10:55 p.m. Monday after the man trying to purchase the cellphone was robbed at the residence, deputies said.

The victim said the individual pointed an unknown object at him from his jacket pocket and demanded the victim’s cellphone and wallet, and then fled the area, deputies said. Deputy Matt Bush and K-9 Diesel attempted to track the individual but were unsuccessful.

The sheriff’s department advised that anyone buying or selling an item through an online contact should ask specific questions that someone who owns the product would know.

“If they can’t answer basic questions, there is a good chance they don’t actually have the product and chances are it is a setup to rob you,” Sheriff Matt Myers said. “You should meet only in a public place and never go to a secondary location,” he said. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.