Arrest in Paterson iPhone robberies

April 9, 2011 10:04:45 AM PDT
Paterson police have arrested a juvenile who they say is part of a group that's been targeting people who used Craigslist to buy or sell used iPhones.

It wasn't immediately known Saturday what charges the boy will face or what his role within the group was. But authorities say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

The teen was spotted by police during a recent stakeout, but ran off before he could be captured. He was arrested around 6:30 p.m. Friday at his home.

Several people responded to ads on Craigslist to buy or to sell the iPhone, and then agreed to meet the interested party along Haledon Avenue near 4th and 5th Streets in North Paterson. Instead, they ended up facing a gun.

"When the victim would show up, they would rob them at gunpoint," Det. Robert Reyes of Paterson police said.

The victims have been robbed by 2 or 3 men in their late teens or 20s. About 5 people have fallen victim to the lure in the past two weeks. They took the chance to meet a stranger in an unfamiliar place, bringing with them cash or the phone, and then being robbed.

"Really, it's not surprising. People want to make money, people want to get money," resident Keith Gerard said.

"I wouldn't by anything online unless they were going to ship it to me. To meet a stranger, that's crazy," Keith Combs said.

No one's been seriously injured in these robberies, but all of them involved a gun so look at what Paterson police are taking action.

They have posted a warning on Craigslist to beware of iPhone ads from Paterson, and there are many.

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