Over the course of two hours, four separate people were robbed Thursday night in Elk Grove while trying to complete an online sale transaction, the Elk Grove Police Department said.
Around 7:50 p.m. Thursday, the first robbery victim arranged to meet with two men to complete an online sale transaction, according to police logs. The victim described both of them as between 20 and 25 years old, one Hispanic, one African American. During the meeting, near Consumes Oaks High School, one of the men pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded the victim’s property. After the first victim gave the two men his property, they fled from the scene.
Almost exactly an hour later, a second victim arrived near James McKee Elementary — 2 1/2 miles away from the high school — to complete an online transaction. He was also threatened with a firearm by two men. According to the victim, one of the robbers was a white male in his 20s, the second was an African American between 20 and 25. After he gave the two men his property, one of the victim’s friends exited the victim’s vehicle and was also eventually coerced into giving the two suspects his property. Both of the men then ran to a vehicle, driven by a third man described as African American male in a gray or tan SUV.
Another hour later, a third victim arranged to meet with two men, again to complete an online transaction. He, too, described the robbers as a white man and an African American man, both between the ages of 18 and 25. The robbery occurred near Ellen Feickert Elementary school. Again, the victim was threatened with a firearm, and again, the victim gave the two suspects his property, then the suspects fled from the scene.
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According to Jason Jimenez, the Elk Grove Police Department information officer, the similarity and proximity of all three incidents have led police to believe that they were all perpetrated by the same people — three men, between 18 and 25, two African American and one either white or Hispanic. After Elk Grove police received 911 calls from three victims, they arrived on the scenes and established a perimeter where the robberies allegedly occurred. They also used a helicopter, provided by the California Highway Patrol, to look for the suspects. As of Friday afternoon, the department has not located the three suspects. An investigation into the three incidents is ongoing.
“We’re asking anybody that lives in those areas that may have exterior surveillance cameras to contact us,” said Jimenez. The dispatch number for the Elk Grove Police Department is 916-714-5115.
When conducting online transactions from websites like Craigslist in person, the Elk Grove Police Department recommends people conduct the transactions at police departments, always meet during the daytime, and come to the transaction with a friend or family member.
“If it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut,” said Jimenez.