Police warn of dangers of internet sales


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Chief of Detectives Capt. Brad Blackburn said he does not know how to impress upon people enough to be careful when they arrange to meet someone on the internet to sell something.

He said the death of a 15-year-old boy who was shot about 7 p.m. at a vacant home on Sherwood Avenue is a prime example of that.

The victim, along with a 19-year-old Sharon man, had arranged to meet someone at a home in the 700 block of Sherwood to sell a couple of phones.

Instead, the two were robbed and the 15-year-old was shot. The driver managed to get to a parking lot at Glenwood and Parkcliffe avenues and call police, but the boy later died at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Investigators did not release many details of the shooting or the victim’s name. Two calls to the Mahoning County Coroner’s office were not returned.

Blackburn said the city has dealt with too many cases recently where people go to meet someone they know only online – and end up getting robbed.

Earlier this month, a man was wounded in a South Side driveway after he went to meet someone to buy a phone.

On Nov. 25, Tyler Kitchen, 19, was shot and killed at Belmont Avenue and Wirt Street. Police said Kitchen had arranged with a man and his son online to meet and sell a phone. Police said Kitchen tried to rob the pair, and the father, who has a concealed-carry permit for a handgun, shot and killed Kitchen. No charges have been filed.

Blackburn said people should not be meeting strangers in residential areas. He said they need to meet some place public, preferably where there are cameras. He even suggested the parking lot of the police department – just some place where there are a lot of witnesses.

“I don’t know how many shootings or killings or robberies we have to have before people understand that,” Blackburn said.

Chief Robin Lees said he hopes to have an area in the parking lot of the police department shortly for people to meet and exchange goods they made arrangements to sell over the internet. Lees said he is waiting for upgrades in lighting and video cameras before such an area is created.

He also said people need to practice common sense. He said if someone offers you a deal on something that is too good to be true, it probably is.

“Common sense should prevail,” Lees said.

The death is the third homicide in Youngstown this year. In 2017, Youngstown recorded 26 homicides and had six at this point last year.

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