Cuyahoga County prosecutor sees increase in robberies during online sales meetups

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) –  The Cuyahoga County prosecutor says his office has seen an increase in people being robbed after they agreed to meet with a person they met on online sales sites.

“We have seen a lot of these and it’s becoming a problem,” prosecutor Mike O’Malley told the FOX 8 I-Team. “People don’t realize there are people out there meaning to do them harm.”

O’Malley said a suspect was just sent to prison for robbing a cell phone from a man, who agreed to meet him, in hopes of selling the phone.  The victim met the suspect outside of a nursing home in Garfield Heights in the middle of the afternoon, thinking he was safe.

Prosecutors also just recently indicted two adults and two juveniles in connection with the August 2017 murder of Hesham Kamel, 52, of Willioughby Hills. Kamel used an online site and thought he was meeting with people willing to swap his car.

“These four suspects worked together to lure people they met on online sites to meet them,” O’Malley said. “Unfortunately, they did get somebody to fall for their trap.”

The prosecutor recommended people look for safe spots to meet, and said many police departments have areas set up for trading or selling items.

“Go with additional people, don’t go alone, “ O’Malley said. “And please go to a spot that is going to be safe.”

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