It’s happened four times in Palm Beach County in November, and at least once in Broward County. There, it ended deadly.
Everyday people trying to buy or sell items online, like Facebook, Craigslist or apps like Offer Up, setting themselves up to become robbery victims.
Alex started the bidding of his two iPhone X’s at $3,000 on the Facebook marketplace.
“He just chatted me, saying he was interested in the item,” he said.
The potential buyer even FaceTimed to negotiate the price.
“The manipulation was amazing, so you never know who you’re dealing with. Just because he sounds like a good kid doesn’t mean he is,” Alex said.
Alex picked up his friend Lyman and went to the agreed upon Walmart, the one on Old Boynton Road.
“The initial plan was to meet inside the Walmart and then he gave me a call and was like I think you guys are going to rob us, so let’s not meet in the Walmart,” Alex said.
So they agreed in the parking lot.
“So we kind of took a deep breath and we got out of the car,” Alex said.
It would turn out to be at least the 4th similarly styled robbery in Palm Beach County this month and 5th in South Florida.
“He goes into his pockets and pulls out a gun,” Lyman said.
“He put the barrel to him, ‘Lyman, give me the phone!’” Alex remembers saying.
“They took the phones. Look at us for one second. And booked it,” Lyman said.
It’s happened twice in Boca, at the Town Center Mall and the Cinemark movie theater.
This was the second in Boynton.
In Davie, a buyer was shot and killed in a CVS parking lot, responding to a Craigslist ad for a cell phone.
“It wasn’t a live photo lineup, it was just the pictures. It was six of them and I had to point them out. Nailed ‘em both,” Alex said.
Alex went to the Boynton Beach police station to identify 19-year-olds Jovany Michel and Nicken Resolu as the accused robbers. But he could have gone there much sooner.
“You can do it right in the lobby,” Alex said as a transaction point. “They have surveillance cameras everywhere. I would say go there. It’s the safest place. Who’s going to rob you in police station lobby?
The BBPD lobby is open 24 hours a day.
Police hasn’t said if the two accused here are connected to the other robberies.