Craigslist criminal activity prompts mixed response from users - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

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  • Four arrested for "Robbery by Appointment"

Craigslist criminal activity prompts mixed response from users

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Appointment robbers--a new term for the Montgomery Police Department.

Investigators arrested four people who are charged with trying to rob potential Craigslist customers.

Police say the suspects advertised cheap prices of items and when potential buyers came calling, they robbed them at gunpoint.

"If it's too good to be true, you need to avoid it," says Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy.

The ad used by the Craigslist criminals to reel in potential buyers advertised a 60-inch TV police say should have cost roughly $3,000 dollars--listed for $350.

"I mean, come on now. It's very unlikely anyone would want to sell something that expensive for $300 dollars so people need to be careful," says Murphy.

But that's what Murphy says the four suspects used as bait--prompting innocent customers to bite at the offer, then meet face to face only to rob them.

"Criminals are getting more and more sophisticated," says Montgomery Department of Public Safety Director, Col. Chris Murphy.

"Craigslist has become synonymous with scams," says Chris Bell.

Bell and his wife have never used the website. They've heard of similar crimes in larger cities.

"The scams have saturated the bigger metropolitan areas and they finally have worked into the smaller metropolitan areas, so here we are," says Bell.

"I just hate to hear it.  These people being taken advantage of," says Kim.

Police recommend protecting yourself from Internet schemes by:

--Conducting transactions in public places during the day

--Taking a friend with you

--Letting people know where you're going

Many people, though, say their experience with Craigslist has been nothing but positive.

"I've sold a bunch of things on Craigslist. I usually take personal precautions making sure I verify who I'm selling it to and I haven't had any problems with it so far," says Alex Boykin.

Police say they found out about the crimes and worked nearly 24 hours a day to track down the suspects.

They say they used everything from undercover agents to surveillance video to make the arrests.

The four suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary.

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