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Craigslist ads lead to robberies in Fredericksburg

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At least three times in recent days, people who came to Fredericksburg to sell cell phones they’d advertised on Craigslist have left town empty-handed.

City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said that in all three cases, the would-be buyer ran off with the phones without paying for them. Two of the phones were snatched out of the owner’s hands and have been classified as robberies.

All three incidents took place off Fall Hill Avenue and in each case the thief was described as a black man in his late teens or early 20s.

The latest incident occurred about 8:40 p.m. Monday at the Crestview Apartment complex off Fall Hill Avenue. A Locust Grove man reported that he’d made arrangements to sell a Samsung phone and made arrangements to meet the buyer at the apartments.

As soon as they met, the would-be buyer grabbed the phone from the seller’s hand and took off running toward Fall Hill Avenue. The victim chased him for a while but eventually gave up the pursuit.

The man was described as wearing a gray hoodie and had his braided hair in a ponytail.

About 30 minutes earlier, a Stafford County man came to the 7-Eleven across the street to sell an iPhone he’d listed on Craigslist. He handed the phone to the supposed buyer so he could look at it and the man ran off with it. He was described as being thin, in his late teens wearing a black and red jacket, dark jeans and black shoes.

A similar incident occurred Friday morning at the same 7-Eleven. A Spotsylvania County woman showed up to sell an iPhone she’d advertised and was greeted by a man who pushed her and grabbed the phone before fleeing.

He was described as being in his 20s. He had a mustache and wore tan pants and a blue shirt.

Bledsoe said that although the descriptions differed in the three cases, police are investigating the possibility that the incidents are related. Anyone with information is asked to call city police at 373-3122.