The Edmonton Police issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, alerting the citizens to a string of robberies amid novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The statement said “The Edmonton Police Service is alerting citizens to a string of robberies involving cell phones offered for sale through online marketplaces such as Kijiji, Letgo and Facebook.”

“Last Thursday, March 26, at approximately 7 p.m., a seller and a male posing as an interested buyer had arranged through Kijiji to meet up in a parking lot in the area of 144 Avenue and 75 Street to complete the sale of a cell phone. It was reported to police that the male suspect arrived at the meeting location, pepper sprayed the seller and fled on foot with the phone.

Later that same evening, at approximately 9 p.m., a buyer and a male posing as a seller had arranged through Facebook to meet up in the area of 128 Avenue and 44 Street to complete the sale of a cell phone for the mutually agreed-upon price of $900,” the statement said, adding that “It was reported that the buyer was then accosted by two males armed with knives, who demanded the $900 in cash before fleeing the scene on foot.”

The statement also added “On March 30 at approximately 10 p.m., another near-robbery occurred in the area of Menisa Park. In this instance, the suspect got into a vehicle with the seller and tried unsuccessfully to snatch the phone before producing a knife and fleeing on foot.”

Police have not yet determined whether the three events are related, the Edmonton Police said.

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