How to stay safe — and avoid being robbed — through online classifieds

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WASHINGTON — It’s the season to be merry and bright, so holiday songs say. But for thieves, it can be just another season for taking other people’s things.

D.C. police say they have seen an increase in robberies involving folks who meet up to complete transactions they started online using platforms such as Offer-Up, Let Go and Craigslist. The targeted individuals may be looking to buy or sell items, but end up in a staged robbery.

On Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, three such robberies happened along the same block of Altamont Place, between Naylor Road and Good Hope Road in Southeast.

Two of them happened during the day, while the third happened a little before 5 p.m.

In each case, when the victims arrived at the location, a suspect waved a gun and demanded cash from them. The suspect got away with money in two of those cases.

A 17-year-old has been arrested in these three incidents. Metro police said Tykel Wilson, Jr of Southeast, D.C. has been charged as an adult.

Staying safe

To keep such transactions safe, police departments in the area have set up safe exchange locations.

D.C. police recently announced additional exchange zones. There used to be three in the city, but there are now eight.

  • First District Station: 101 M Street, Southwest
  • Second District Station: 3320 Idaho Avenue, Northwest
  • Third District Station: 1620 V Street, Northwest
  • Fourth District Station: 6001 Georgia Avenue, Northwest
  • Fifth District Station: 1805 Bladensburg Road, Northeast
  • Sixth District Station: 5002 Hayes Street, Northeast
  • Seventh District Station: 2455 Alabama Avenue, Southeast
  • Special Operations Division’s Harbor Patrol: 550 Water Street, Southwest

Here is a map of the safe exchange areas designated by D.C. Police.

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