OfferUp sale turns into armed robbery; 17-year-old suspect charged as adult

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A 17-year-old boy is facing charges after police say he robbed two sisters at gunpoint during an online sale.

On Tuesday criminal charges were filed against the teenage suspect. Despite being underage, the 17-year-old accused thief was waived into the adult court system.

The crime took place on Jan. 19, when two sisters showed up at an east-side apartment complex to sell a cell phone.

The victims, who had their two young kids in the back seat, were instead robbed at gunpoint.

“As I was looking at my sister, I got struck in the back of the head and he said, ‘Give me the phone,’” said Destiney Schaffer. “All I kept thinking was he was going to shoot me and my sister and my kids in the backseat.”

Schaffer says she and her sister agreed to meet the suspect using the online marketplace called OfferUp.

Police say after putting a gun to Destiny’s head, 17-year-old Mecca Smith snatched the victim’s phone and took off running.

“Anytime you are doing business online, use caution and make sure you’re safe. Be careful who you’re doing business with,” said IMPD Sgt. Jim Gillespie.

While the sisters learned a lesson from the dangerous encounter, the IMPD advises everyone conducting online sales to meet in safe locations. That’s why the department has set up “E-commerce safe zones” at each of their six district headquarters around Indianapolis.

Those include: North District at 3120 E. 30th Street, East District at 201 N. Shadeland Avenue, Southeast District at 1150 S. Shelby Street, Southwest District at 551 N. King Street, Northwest District at 3821 Industrial Boulevard and Downtown District at 39 W. Jackson Place Suite 500.

“We have parking lots you can meet someone in front of a police station that’s under surveillance and do business there where it’s a lot safer. If someone says they don’t want to meet at a police department, that’s probably not someone you want to do business with,” said Gillespie.

Court records detail how Smith was caught after he allegedly re-listed the stolen phone on OfferUp for $300. After being taken into questioning, the suspect refused to make any comments to police and was subsequently arrested.

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