Beware Facebook robbers‚ police say

A young man who hoped to get a good deal on a second-hand car he saw advertised on a Facebook post was instead robbed at gunpoint. He had even taken the precaution of being accompanied by friends to view the car.

Issuing to a warning to the public‚ the South African Police Service’s Captain FC van Wyk said the crime highlighted the dangers of responding to social media adverts.

Describing how the crime unfolded‚ he said a 23-year-old man from Grassy Park in Cape Town saw a Facebook post last week about someone selling a Volkswagen Golf for R25 000.

“The Facebook post seemed to be legitimate‚ with pictures and a description of the car.”

The interested buyer made contact with the potential seller and they agreed to meet at an address in Greatfish Road‚ Manenberg.

“When the prospective buyer and his two college friends arrived at Greatfish Road‚ the address on the advertisement could not be found and he was directed to a house further down the road. When they got to the other address‚ two men just got into the car. The one man pulled out a firearm and threatened the 23-year-old victim and his friends. The suspects took their cellphones and R80 in cash‚ robbing them of a total value of R2 500. The victim and his friends were forced to drive around in Manenberg until they managed to drop off the suspects in Jordan Road.”

Detective Constable Joshua Williams investigated the case‚ arresting two suspects‚ aged 27 and 53 years old‚ for robbery with a firearm. They appeared in the Athlone Magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

Capt van Wyk said: “The young people involved in the incident were fortunate to escape unharmed‚ because so many bad things could have happened to them.

“The SAPS appeals to community members‚ when seeing an advert on social media‚ to make enquiries to establish and verify the legitimacy of the so-called sale. This may prevent another serious crime from being committed.”