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Facebook Marketplace leads to St. Helena robbery at gunpoint

Police spent Saturday morning searching for a suspect in an armed robbery in St. Helena that stemmed from a Facebook Marketplace meetup.

This is the third time this month that a Beaufort County resident has reported being robbed at gunpoint while making an exchange from Facebook Marketplace, an in-app sales platform that lets users post photos of items for sale and then message one another to arrange payment and delivery.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Bob Bromage said Saturday that a buyer had arranged to meet someone to buy a trailer listed on Facebook Marketplace on Eternity Lane in St. Helena. The seller then pulled out a gun and robbed the buyer, taking their cash.

Nobody was injured, and the suspect was not located during Saturday’s search, Bromage said.

He said that the robbery “does not appear to be related” to two other armed robberies that took place Feb. 3 and 4 in Burton, “but it appears to be a disturbing trend.”

The first robbery took place on Feb. 3 at Possum Hill Road. According to a police report, the victim had agreed to meet a seller there who was offering a PlayStation 5 on Facebook. When he arrived, he saw a man that he recognized as a former classmate at Battery Creek High School. The suspect’s name was redacted from the report.

When the victim asked his former classmate if he knew who was selling the gaming console, the suspect walked off and then came back and pulled a gun on the victim, demanding money.

Holding the gun to the victim’s head, the report said the seller took the victim’s wallet from the passenger seat of his car and then ran off.

As of Feb. 9, no arrests had been made in that case.

On Feb. 4, another Burton resident was robbed at gunpoint during a Facebook Marketplace interaction. She had listed her cell phone for sale on the site and was robbed at her Roseida Road home by three juveniles, according to police.

Dorrian Morgan, 17, of Burton was charged with armed robbery on Feb. 4 in the cell phone case. He will be tried as an adult due to the seriousness of the crime, Bromage previously told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette.

Two other teenagers involved in that case, who were not named because they are minors, were petitioned to Family Court and transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia, Bromage said.

Bromage encouraged people to meet up in police station parking lots instead of their homes or other unsecured locations for this kind of sale.

“A public place is always a better place to pick out for this, with people around so there are witnesses to the transaction or whatever the case may be,” he said.

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Rachel Jones covers education for the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for the Daily Tar Heel and Charlotte Observer. She has won awards from the South Carolina Press Association, Associated College Press and North Carolina College Media Association for feature writing and education reporting.

Source:Facebook Marketplace leads to St. Helena robbery at gunpoint

Discovered on: 2022-02-19 22:07:27

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