Police say Milwaukee has seen spike in Craigslist robberies

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police in District Seven say they've seen at least six Craigslist related robberies in the past month! Monday, they presented a simple solution: do your business in a police station, where help is only steps away.

Buying and selling on Craigslist has been equated to "robbery by appointment" by Milwaukee police. In Milwaukee Police - District Seven alone, the website has led to at least four robberies in the last week.

The most recent incident occurred Sunday night shortly before 6:30 at a Speedway gas station on Appleton and Hampton. A 33-year-old man was meeting a potential buyer of his cell phone. That's when the purchaser got into the seller's car, pulled out a gun, and made the man drive to a nearby alley, where he got away with two cell phones and some cash.

For both buyers and sellers, police say the meeting place and time are key. Even Craigslist suggests a public meeting place, during the day. Buyers specifically should pay attention to the price. If the item is well undervalued, police say that's an indicator that it's either stolen or they're setting you up to rob you.

Police even suggest going to a police district and performing transactions there. MPD is encouraging Craigslist buyers and sellers to do their business in a place where help is mere steps away. It's one way even the most suspicious ads can be followed up on, without fear. "The Milwaukee Police Department is not going to get involved in your transaction, but the lobby of a police station is the safest place for you to go. You're surrounded by police officers," Milwaukee Police Officer Lisa Saffold said.

Police are searching for the suspect from Sunday's robbery. He's described as a black male, around 25 years old, five feet, eight inches tall, weighing 165 pounds.

Police say while the Craigslist robberies are numerous, it's rare they don't catch the criminal.