String of Craigslist robberies puts campus police on alert

Megan Strickland

In a string of armed robberies in West Campus, an unidentified man has targeted people selling iPhones on Craigslist, according to the Austin Police Department and the University Police Department.

Four individuals were robbed between Oct. 28 and Oct. 31, said Austin Police Department Lt. Michael Eveleth. He said in all of the robberies the suspect contacted victims through Craiglist asking to purchase a used iPhone. During the exchanges, the suspect used a hand gun to forcibly take the iPhone, but did not demand anything else from the victims.

Eveleth said in one case the suspect, believed to be a single individual, was reported to have worn bright green painted dress shoes. The suspect has arranged meetings in the evenings between 5 p.m. and midnight, he said.

Eveleth said Craigslist vendors should take precautions when meeting with potential buyers.

“The best thing to do is not to be in an isolated area,” Eveleth said. “Be in a place that’s well-lit. Don’t let them change locations unexpectedly.”

Although Eveleth said he did not think any of the victims were UT students, UT spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said UTPD re-issued a warning via social media that APD sent out Thursday.

“We did a tweet on UTPD’s account and it’s posted on our website,” Weldon said.

Weldon said the message was also posted to the UTPD Facebook account, and the organization’s Be Safe, Texas Twitter account and website.