Headline: Police warn buyers from social media sites to be wary following gunpoint robbery
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 – 6:53pm
Be wary of dealing with strangers and where possible, conduct transactions using traceable payment options is the message from Waikato Police investigating the gunpoint robbery of a man in Gordonton overnight.
Detective Russell Crawford of the Ngaruawahia CIB said detectives were alerted to the incident after a distraught man flagged down a passing patrol car on SH3 in Otorohanga about 4pm.
“It appears our victim has driven up from New Plymouth to Hamilton yesterday morning to purchase a motorbike he saw for sale on a Facebook based site that specialises in selling motorbikes.
“He had arranged to meet the seller at the Five Crossroads shops but when he arrived the “seller” advised him to go to a Gordonton property. When the victim arrived a Caucasian male opened a farm gate to let the victim’s car and trailer in and suddenly he found himself confronted by a second male brandishing a firearm.”
Mr Crawford said the victim was understandably traumatised by what happened with the offenders making him lie on the ground and threatening to shoot him several times.
“The pair have taken the victim’s money he intended purchasing the motorbike with and fled in a getaway vehicle driven by a third offender.
“The man was so shaken he didn’t call 111 and instead began to drive home, flagging down the first Police car he saw which was in Otorohanga. Obviously with the benefit of hindsight Police would recommend calling 111 immediately but the man was obviously in an emotional and stressed state.”
Mr Crawford said while Police work closely with a number of internet based selling companies the number of social media based operations was increasing all the time and he urged potential buyers to take some simple safety precautions.
• Where possible avoid paying cash, instead make a bank payment so there is an auditable trail of the transaction
• Avoid carrying large some of cash and if you must use this form of payment, ensure you go with someone else and conduct the transaction in a well lit, public place where you can be seen
• Obtain as much detail of the seller as you can prior to the purchase such as their name, their phone number, address or any other identifiable piece of information
• Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is and by buying that super deal you may make yourself the next victim
• Never use a money transfer service to send money overseas
• Keep all emails, texts and messages exchanged with the seller