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RCMP: Arrest provides cautionary tale about meeting with strangers for online purchases

A 20-year-old man is facing robbery charges following his arrest by the Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit for two incidents which took place a day apart. 

The first incident occurred on January 18, 2020, just after 5:00 pm near the Surrey Public Library. The victim arranged a meeting with a potential buyer for a cell phone they had advertised for sale on social media. When the meeting took place the victim was allegedly assaulted, and their phone was stolen.
On Jan. 19, just before noon, a similar incident took place outside a Surrey shopping centre, but the victim was able to run away and their phone was not stolen.
Surrey RCMP’s Robbery Unit arrested 20-year-old, Joseph Peake, of no fixed address, on January 19, 2020 and he has been charged with two counts of robbery and three counts of breaching court conditions.
“There is a heightened risk to personal safety when meeting people you don’t know, even in a public space,” says Cpl. Elenore Sturko, Surrey RCMP. “We have seen a number of similar robberies over the past few months and want the public to be aware that there are risks involved in these buy and sell transactions.”
Surrey RCMP is providing some personal safety tips that may be helpful when arranging meetings with unknown online parties to buy or sell items:

• Insist on a heavily populated, public meeting place that is well-lit
• Do not meet in a secluded place or arrange to meet at your home
• Be especially careful when buying or selling high value items
• Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’re meeting the buyer/seller
• Take your cell phone and a friend along to accompany you
• If you are verbally threatened or physically assaulted, avoid confrontation by giving the perpetrator the property. Call police as soon as possible.