Craigslist Robber Nabbed By Internet Investigators

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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May 19, 2011

A robber is behind bars today after setting up a phony sale on the Internet advertisement website Craigslist in Wichita. Police tracked down and arrested the robber after he stole a wad of cash from a man who thought he would be buying some iPhones.

The criminals are using the Internet, but the cops are, too. Yesterday's robbery is a case in point in exactly how crime fighting has changed over the years. many times, the officers can get so many tips by using Internet websites right at their fingertips.

"This is a situation where somebody was intentionally set up and the plan was to defraud them of their money," said Wichita Police Lieutenant Doug Nolte.

The idea was to buy four iPhones. When the two men arrived at the Walmart parking lot near 29th and Rock Rd. in Wichita, things went wrong when the seller handed over a bag with four iPhone boxes in it. But when the buyer looked inside one of the boxes, there was no iPhone. He approached the seller to get his $1,600 back, but was instead greeted with a handgun.

"Our goal here isn't to discourage," Nolte said. "It's just to make people aware that there are people out there that want to defraud."

Officer Rich McCluney helped track down the robber. Although not giving out their tactics, it's clear that in this age of the Internet, crime fighting has changed significantly.

"Technology that is used today is Star Wars different than what we used 20 years ago to investigate these types of crimes," McCluney said.

From the Internet and smart phones, to the miniature camera planted right on McCluney's head, the cops have to continuously stay one step ahead of the criminals.

"There are generations of people active in crimes today who have never known life without a cell phone, for example," McCluney explained. "They don't know what it's like to not have information at their fingertips instantly."

In the case of Wednesday's robbery, McCluney and another officer tracked down the robber within six hours after the crime took place.

"Sometimes I look back and wonder 'How did we do it before the technology?' but we managed," he joked.

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