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Buyer Beware: Crooks are using phone apps to sell stolen property

Buyer Beware! That’s the message from the Lompoc Police Department if you’re thinking about buying used items online. They say those items can often times be stolen. More and more crooks are selling stolen stuff on phone apps.

Police say if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. They recently recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen property off of one of these apps.

Taylor Zaragoza says there was something not quite right with that used XBOX he bought online.

“There was bits and pieces of the cables and it was marked and they had names on them like who they belonged to and say the guy was Chuck.. it wasn’t Chuck,” Vandenberg Village resident Taylor Zaragoza said.

Lompoc Police are saying that situations like Zaragoza’s are more common than you might think.

Police say criminals are selling stolen stuff on these apps because the crooks think there’s a level of anonymity with these phone apps.

“The one that was involved in this investigation is an app called “Offer Up” but there’s a number of them out there,” Lompoc Police Sgt. Russell Martin said.

Lompoc Police Sgt. Russell Martin says people aren’t using websites like Craigslist as much because it’s easier to get tracked down than on these apps.

“Law enforcement has the ability to write a search warrant to go get records from those companies to try to identify and work their investigation,” Martin said.

Lompoc police recently located a man on one of these apps, who bought about two thousand dollars worth of stuff that had been stolen here in Lompoc.

“That party willingly gave the property back,” Martin said.

Martin says if something smells fishy, it probably is.

“If you’re purchasing a $1,500 tool for $80 bucks, there’s probably something to it,” Martin said.

“It’s definitely a hit or miss in my opinion,” Zaragoza said.

You can still be arrested for receiving stolen items. There’s still stolen stuff at the police department if you think you were a recent victim.

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