Gurnee, IL – The Gurnee Police Department received a 911 call at 5:19 PM on Tuesday afternoon from a caller stating he had been robbed in the parking lot outside the Sears Grand store, 6136 Grand Ave. What started as an arranged meeting between two strangers for a purchase that was initiated online, over the internet, apparently turned into a “rip off” robbery of cash from the victim.
The victim, a 36 year old male from Elgin, during the first interview, stated that he had left his car in the parking lot and was approached by a male black subject who asked him for money. He said he walked into the Sears store to avoid the man and then returned to the parking lot when he didn’t see the man. He then said the man approached him again in the parking lot and again asked for money. They had a conversation inside the victim’s car and the suspect allegedly lifted his coat to reveal the grip of a handgun and then demanded the victim’s cash. The victim gave the offender his cash and the offender also grabbed a shopping bag with merchandise recently purchased. He then ran through the parking lot in an easterly direction.
Further investigation by detectives revealed the fact that the victim had arranged to purchase some cell phones online from a subject he did not know and they agreed to meet in the parking lot at Gurnee Mills. The victim apparently began having second thoughts about the transaction during their initial meeting and they did go into the Sears store and then back to the victim’s vehicle in the parking lot when the robbery occurred as he had previously described. The victim was not injured in the incident and the offender made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and some home electronics that had been purchased by the victim that evening.
The suspect is described as a male black, in his mid twenties, 5’06”-5’07” tall, 150-160 lbs. He had curly, brown hair tied back in a ponytail, last seen wearing a long brown coat and a blue and white plaid shirt.
No suspect was located and no one is in custody at this time. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with any information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Gurnee Police Department at 847-599-7000 or Lake County CrimeStoppers at 847-662-2222. The Gurnee Police Department offers these crime prevention tips when conducting online purchases from private parties. To better insure your own safety during these types of transactions:
Know the true identity of who you're dealing with.
- Do not meet with strangers alone. Take a trusted friend or family member with you to complete the transaction.
- Conduct the transaction in a public, highly-trafficked location, such as a coffee shop, mall, restaurant, lobby of a local police station, etc.
- If possible, do not enter a seller's home or vehicle. Wait outside, even if they insist that you come inside. Obviously, if you are buying a car or renting a property, you will have to go inside, but make sure you bring a friend or relative.
- Trust your intuition. If something seems off or makes you uncomfortable, you should just leave. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Cmdr. Jay J. Patrick