The 20-year-old man opened the bag which he thought contained four iPhones and found empty boxes that had been advertised on Craig’s List.
He later told police that he yelled at the man walking away with $1,600 cash in his pocket. That 29-year-old reached in his waistband, indicated he had a gun and told him to back off.
“Our victim was pretty shaken up by the turn of events,” Lt. Doug Nolte of the Wichita police said today.
It also pointed out the need to be cautious when buying articles from strangers online.
The suspected robbery took place at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Walmart, 29th Street and Rock Road.
“This is a situation where someone was intentionally set up,” Nolte said.
Online advertising can also leave a trail of information. The 29-year-old had been arrested by 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to jail booking reports.
“This was good-old fashioned police work,” Nolte said. “Officers went above and beyond and tracked down every piece of information they could.”
Meeting in a public place was one of the tips Nolte said police would give people wanting to stay safe when dealing with strangers online.
According to police reports:
A man in Manhattan had seen four iPhones advertised on Craig’s List at $400 apiece. After learning the people selling the phones were in Wichita, he called a friend here and arranged for the 20-year-old to make the purchase.
The Manhattan customer sent a check for $1,600. His friend cashed it and took the cash to the parking lot.
“Don’t take large sums of cash,” Nolte said of such purchases.
After handing the older man the cash, the 20-year-old told police he thought the package felt light. He opened up one of the boxes and found only the owners manual and charger -- no phones.
When he asked the man about it, he said he had a gun.
The 20-year-old man got in his car and waited for the man to leave.
Police think at least one other person is involved and may make more arrests.
“We haven’t recovered all the money yet,” Nolte said.