Surrey RCMP arrest suspect for robbing online cellphone sellers at in-person meetings

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      Surrey RCMP arrested a male suspect for robbery in two incidents involving sellers who arranged meetings for mobile phone sales online.

      Shortly after 5 p.m. on January 18, a victim and potential buyer met at an arranged appointment near the Surrey Public Library. The victim was selling a cellphone advertised on social media.

      However, the buyer allegedly assaulted the victim and stole the phone.

      Then just prior to noon on January 19, an attempted similar incident took place outside a Surrey shopping centre. However, in this case, the victim managed to run away before the buyer stole the phone.

      On January 19, Surrey officers arrested 20-year-old Joseph Peake of no fixed address. He has been charged with two counts of robbery and three counts of breaching court conditions.

      Several other similar incidents have taken place in Metro Vancouver over the past year.

      In September, Surrey RCMP warned citizens about four cases of two suspects robbing sellers advertising sales on the LetGo app.

      In August, North Vancouver RCMP issued a warning about fake cellphone being sold before a 26-year-old male suspect was arrested.

      When arranging meetings online for buying or selling items to or from unknown individuals, Surrey RCMP recommend:

      •insisting upon a well-lit, heavily populated meeting public place for meeting, and not a secluded spot or at your home;

      •informing others, such as family or friends, about the meeting or having someone accompany you;

      •if threatened or assaulted, avoid conflict by handing over the property to the perpetrator and contacting police immediately.

      Richmond RCMP recommend even arranging meetings for transactions in lobbies of police departments.