Online Sales Turned Into Robberies in Wheaton

Montgomery County police are investigating two unrelated robberies that started as online sales, and officers are encouraging residents to use “safe exchange zones” to conduct such transactions.

Here’s a MyMCMedia video of Germantown District Capt. Mark Plazinski describing the safe exchange zone at the district’s station at 20000 Aircraft Drive.

Both robberies took place in the Wheaton area, when individuals placed items for sale online, then arranged meetings with people they believed to be legitimate buyers, police said.

The first case occurred about 11 a.m. Thursday, July 6, when a man posted an advertisement to sell a pair of tennis shoes on Facebook, police said.

The two arranged to meet at Randolph Road and Dalewood Drive, police said. During the transaction, the “buyer” produced a handgun and stole the tennis shoes from the victim.

Police are looking for a man, 5 feet 8 inches tall, who was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and gray sweatpants. He was driving a blue Honda Accord.

The second case occurred about 12 a.m. Saturday, July 8, police said.

A woman had posted she was selling a digital camera on the app “OfferUp.” She and her “buyer” agreed to meet in the 12000 block of English Orchard Court.

During the exchange, the suspect assaulted the victim, stole the digital camera and fled toward Randolph Road, police said. Police are looking for an 18- to 20-year-old man, 5 feet 8 inches, with a slim build, and last seen wearing a multi-colored hoodie and khaki pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Wheaton District Investigative Section at 240.773.5530. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).  Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest in this case.


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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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