More Craigslist robberies in St. Paul, suspects pose as buyers - New York News

More Craigslist robberies in St. Paul, suspects pose as buyers

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

St. Paul police have arrested three more suspects in connection with a growing number of robberies during Craigslist transactions.

Officers identified the culprits as:

  • Keith Bellamy, 22
  • Jamell Zeno, 21
  • Glenn Hazzard, 20

Police setup a sting operation this week a seller got suspicious and an investigator offered to take his place following several recent robberies -- including Craigslist-arranged meeting in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood that led to the murder of 19-year-old Hamline University student Aung Bo on Aug. 11. A 26-year-old Maplewood man was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated robbery in that case.

Since then, at least eight new Craigslist-related theft cases have been reported in the Summit-University area, and police say the trio named above may be responsible for up to 10 separate cases.

St. Paul police say the thieves used similar tactics in each incident. The suspects posed as buyers, asking the sellers to meet them at an address. Once there, the suspects would ask to see the item -- which ranged from small electronics like cell phones and an iPad to a diamond ring and tennis bracelet -- and take off with it once the seller handed it over for inspection. 

"There's going to be some bad apples out there, unfortunately," said Jeff Hootman, a Craigslist regular.

Hootman told FOX 9 News he sells things like old watches, Coca-Cola collectibles, and sometimes used vehicles.

"I bought my car and SUV this way about four or five months ago," he said. "Sold the other SUV on there as well."

Until now, Hootman said he has felt comfortable using his Farmington home as a place to make transactions with strangers, but recent crimes have him reconsidering.

"It makes you think twice," he admitted. "Meet in public places and not at my home."

Hootman told FOX 9 News he also takes precautions to ensure safe transactions, and he often screens potential buyers and sellers over the phone. he has also taken down license plate numbers and keeps a cell phone in hand when meeting strange buyers or sellers.

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