Sheila Pell 8 a.m., June 24
Arrests made of internet-based armed robbers
Pair used online classified ads to lure victims into real-life muggings
Law enforcement officials are reminding San Diegans to exercise caution when conducting transactions in person with individuals met through online sources such as craigslist, after a man was lured into a attempted armed robbery in the 4S Ranch neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo.
The victim in question was responding to an advertisement online for a mobile phone, and was directed to the 10400 block of Reserve Drive, where he met two “sellers” just prior to 6 p.m. on July 29. One of the two pulled a gun and demanded cash, but the unnamed victim instead fled, running to the San Diego Sheriff’s substation about three blocks away.
Two suspects, 19-year-old Notriga Mandegar and 18-year-old David Belcher, were arrested last week on charges connected to the crime.
In addition to obvious tips such as not responding to “too good to be true” deals and not dealing with sellers who don’t provide proper contact information (including full names and phone numbers, not just e-mail addresses), authorities advise that prospective business transactions be scheduled during daylight hours in highly visible public places, with plenty of potential witnesses on hand to ward off criminal behavior. It’s also strongly advised not to travel from such a safe location to a second, out-of-sight locale to complete a transaction.
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