Brendan Keany

Flynn Warns Public About Marketplace App Robberies

"If it is too good to be true, it probably is."

February 20, 2019 - 5:18 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - District Attorney John Flynn and Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo are warning the public about increases in robberies that occur during exchanges through online marketplaces.

Since last July, there have been 18 social marketplace-related robberies reported to the Buffalo Police Department. 

"We have seen a tremendous uptick, recently, with regard to these social media apps where people can buy stuff online, put stuff online to sell, and when individuals come to the actual meeting point to engage in the transaction, a crime occurs," said Flynn. "You could be a victim if you try to sell the stuff online, and you could be the victims if you're trying to buy the stuff online."

He also announced three recent arrests for similar crimes:

  • Tyquan Demonia, 19, of Buffalo - was arraigned before State Supreme Court on a seven-count indictment, charging him with one count of Robbery in the First Degree, a Class B felony, and six counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Class E felonies, on February 15, 2019. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.


  • Jerwan Stone, III, 21, of Buffalo - was arraigned before State Supreme Court on an indictment charging him with two counts of Robbery in the Second Degree, Class C felonies on February 11, 2019. If convicted, he faces a maximum of four years in prison.


  • An 18-year-old defendant from Buffalo - pleaded guilty before Erie County Court to one count of Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, a Class D felony, on February 1, 2019. This defendant faces a maximum of four years in prison.

Captain Rinaldo offered some advice on how to gauge whether someone appears shady or may be trying to take advantage of you.

"Sometimes what we've found is that the buyer or the seller seems very anxious to make the transaction - 'No, I've got to do this right now,' 'I need you to meet me right now,' 'I'm getting out of work, can you meet me on this corner? It will be real quick,'" began Rinaldo. "If somebody is overly anxious to buy or sell something, from you, again, that should be sending a little red flag up."

The Buffalo Police Department also suggests the following to insure safety:

  • Always arrange exchanges in a public space such as a lobby of a police station, preferably a location with witnesses and security cameras.
  • Never go alone to a meet-up location.
  • Avoid scheduling meet-ups at night.
  • Do not reveal personal information.
  • Always inspect or test the product before you exchange money.
  • Bring a cell phone to contact law enforcement if you are victimized to quickly report the incident.
  • Trust your instincts. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Hear full audio from Flynn and Rinaldo below:

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