Racine police investigate recent Craigslist armed robberies

RACINE (WITI) -- Racine police say they have seen several recent robberies involving the popular website Craigslist. The crimes have been dubbed "robberies by appointment" and all of the victims were hoping to buy the same thing.

Within about a week's span, authorities have handled three armed robberies in which the victims attempted to buy vehicles listed on Craigslist.

"If you're going to engage in these kinds of transactions, use some extra caution," warned Sgt. Jessie Metoyer with the Racine Police Department.

In each of the cases, victims showed up to make a purchase and were held up and robbed by the seller or sellers. All of the robberies have taken place on the southwest side of Racine at varying times of the day.

"Obviously that raises suspicions for us," said Metoyer. "Make sure you're not setting your time for the middle of the night."

The latest incident happened Friday, March 7th around 2 a.m. Four people went to buy a vehicle and were robbed at gunpoint by two suspects.

"That's outrageous. I don't even know why people would do something like that in the first place," said Timothy Prag, who lives in the area.

Authorities are urging anyone else who has been a victim of a similar crime to speak up.

"We believe there could be more victims out there who just haven't reported it yet and we would want them to come forward if they could," Metoyer said.

Police say if you make a Craigslist purchase, meet with the seller in a populated area like a police station parking lot. If the seller says no, it could be a red flag.