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Facebook Marketplace Scammer Robbed Victims with Trash Bag With No Xbox

Over the last month, the Utica Police Department has responded to several robbery/larceny calls originating on the 1100 block of Taylor Ave relative to internet sales transactions.

Each victim stated that they went to the location to purchase an Xbox which was posted on Facebook Marketplace under a Facebook alias name.

In the first incident, the victim arrived at the agreed-upon location. The seller provided the victim with a bag and was told the Xbox system was in it. The victim was getting cash from his pocket when the suspect grabbed the cash from his hand and fled the scene. Upon inspecting the bag, it was learned that it was full of garbage.

Several days later another report was taken regarding a victim agreeing to purchase an Xbox with the same meeting place. When the victim arrived he was met by a male who provided him with a bag that the suspect stated the system was in. Cash was exchanged, and when the victim inspected he contents he noticed that the bag contained trash. The victim attempted to confront the suspect, and the suspect then brandished a firearm at the victim and told him that he would not be returning his money. The suspect then fled the scene with the money.

On the third occasion, a victim stated that he had agreed to purchase an Xbox from Facebook Marketplace and that the meeting location would be the 1100 block of Taylor Ave. They were met by a male who approached them and immediately brandished a handgun demanding cash from them. The victims handed the cash to the suspect who then fled.

After all the interviews were completed, it was learned that each independent victim had conversed with the same Facebook alias for the sales. Upon researching Facebook, the name was located and officers immediately recognized the picture associated with the profile.

The victims were re-contacted and identification procedures were undertaken with them. The male whom the officers recognized was positively identified by the parties as the individual who stole their money.

Based on this information a BOLO was sent out department-wide and on December 10th, 2023 Patrol units located the suspect and arrested him without incident.

Charles Phillips age 19 of Utica was then charged with:

Robbery in the second degree x2

Grand Larceny in the fourth degree

Petit Larceny

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