Police: Teens lured victims with online purchases before robbing them

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A pair of teenagers suspected of carrying out a string of armed robberies by ambushing food delivery workers and people who thought they were buying second-hand goods have been arrested.

In a news release, Minneapolis police said the juveniles lured victims to a spot in the 3200 block of Irving Ave. N. under the pretense of ordering food from local restaurants or offering to buy items listed on OfferUp.com and LetGo.com.

They are suspected of at least four armed robberies between Sept. 12-21, in which they brandished a handgun when the victims arrived.

The more robberies they committed, the more "brazen" they were being in their display of the gun "and in their threats," police say.

The suspects were tracked down with help from several citizens in the area, who provided "crucial information and evidence" that led them to a house on James Avenue North, which police raided with help from a SWAT team after carrying out surveillance.

Police recovered two pistols as well as arresting the suspects.

"None of this would have happened however without the cooperation and help of local citizens," the Minneapolis police said. "The assistance of the citizens of the Fourth Precinct was instrumental in bringing this dangerous pattern to a close."

Safety tips when buying online

The robberies highlight the importance of being safe when buying goods from a third-party seller online.

The Minneapolis PD has a list of safety tips when selling or buying anything via social media or reselling websites.

They insist you meet in a public location of your choosing, whether it be a restaurant, municipal building, library or any place that's public and familiar. When possible, avoid going to a buyer or seller's home, and inviting them to yours.

Police also suggest taking a friend with you to meet the buyer or seller, as this can dissuade a robber from carrying out a crime. They also caution against "too good to be true" deals and say you should carry only the minimum amount of cash necessary.

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has taken steps to provide safer place to exchange items by allowing people to make exchanges in three sheriff's offices, which they're calling "swap spots."

The spots, which are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, are in these locations:

  • Sheriff’s Water Patrol at 4141 Shoreline Drive, Spring Park.
  • Enforcement Services Division at 9401 83rd Ave. N., Brooklyn Park.
  • Public Safety Facility, 401 S. 4th Ave., Minneapolis.

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