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String of robberies connected to marketplace app, OfferUp

Posted at 9:59 PM, Nov 28, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis man says he was robbed at gunpoint after using an online marketplace on his phone.

Since September, the app ‘OfferUp’ has been connected to at least four robberies in central Indiana, according to police records.

Samuel Schmutte is one of those victims. He said the platform is easy to use, you can create a profile with or without a photo and start listing items for sale in just minutes.

Schmutte said he and his girlfriend were robbed at gunpoint on the west side back in September when they tried to sell their TV to a man on OfferUp.

With the ease and anonymity of creating a profile, Schmutte said he would like to see OfferUp add extra security to their platform.

“I would say they require people to have a verified profile instead… or have a limit on the price for items,” said Schmutte.

But Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers warn that apps like OfferUp can make you an easy target.

“You’re really running at your own risk when you choose to do apps like OfferUp that require you to meet at a particular spot,” said Sgt. Kendale Adams.

Adams said if you do choose to use the app, you should meet in a public place, like the mall. Never meet in a parking lot, and always meet during the day.

He said it’s also a good idea to bring multiple people with you, don’t meet with a seller by yourself.

OfferUp released the following statement about the incidents.

"The trust and security of our users is a core focus for us at OfferUp and we do not tolerate criminal activity. These incidents are deeply concerning and we are working closely with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on its investigations."