At least four people trying to buy items from someone they met on the popular website Craigslist have been robbed in recent weeks in Carrollton, police said Tuesday.
"We just want to get the word out to people to be careful and use caution," Officer Jon Stovall said.
Heran Patel, of Rowlett, said he was robbed a few months ago in North Dallas.
Patel contacted a person who had posted an ad offering to sell cellphones and arranged to meet him in a residential area near Interstate 635 and Midway Road.
"He had two of his friends waiting," Patel said. "As soon as he whistled, they came out of nowhere -- one wearing a ski mask and one with a gun."
Patel said the men ordered him to the ground and took $1,200 cash he had brought with him to buy a number of phones.
"They said, 'You have five seconds to run or I'm going to shoot you,' so obviously, I just got up and took off," he said.
Stovall said the robberies in Carrollton involved significant amounts of money. Some of the victims were also lured by someone offering to sell cellphones, he said.
"These offenses occur on Craigslist all across the country," Stovall said. "But what got our attention was the frequency of the offenses."
The victims have given different descriptions of the robbers, and it's not clear if they're part of the same group, he said.
Patel, 20, a pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, said the loss of the money meant he couldn't buy all the books he needed for his studies.
"I learned my lesson," he said. "That was a one-time lesson I don't want to deal with ever again."