How to avoid buying stolen goods online - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

How to avoid buying stolen goods online

Merandia Barker says as an admin there is really no way for her to keep people from posting stolen items online. Merandia Barker says as an admin there is really no way for her to keep people from posting stolen items online.
Dustin Oakes (Source: Scott County Sheriff's Office) Dustin Oakes (Source: Scott County Sheriff's Office)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A post on one of the popular "Sell SEMO" Facebook pages led to the arrest of a Sikeston, Mo. man.

The Scott County Sheriff's Department said Dustin Oakes, 18, is facing charges after reportedly stealing a woman's laptop.

The victim ended up locating it online when a woman tried selling it after Oakes traded the computer for a truck.

The Cape Girardeau Police Department said stolen items can easily wind up on buy and sell sites.

"Social media is the way to contact people whether it be sell something or to share ideas or neighbors keeping in contact and so these are very good sites for the honest person but they are very good sites for the criminals to get rid of property they've stolen," officer Darren Hickey said.

Hickey said thefts happen everyday.

He said thieves typically want to get rid of whatever they stole, and maybe even make a profit.

That's why detectives will follow sites like "Sell it SEMO" to see if they wind up there.

Merandia Barker is the administrator for "Sell it SEMO 2," one of the many groups out there to sell your old goods.

Barker said it's all about convenience when it comes to these pages.

"You can look and there it is. I'm looking for this or you can post I am in need of this or in search of a washer and dryer and then there's always people out there that have the product that live in your area so you don't have to go looking it's right there," Barker said.

However, Hickey said it's that convenience that makes it just as easy for thieves.

"If it's too good to be true it probably is," Hickey said. If you're looking to buy a tablet and somebody wants 50 bucks for it and it's a $500 tablet. You need to start asking your self why... it's either broken or it's stolen."

Hickey suggests you ask the seller several questions before making a purchase from one of these sites:
  • Like why the seller wants to get rid of it,
  • do they have the original box for the item,
  • ask for the serial number so local law enforcement can track it.
Police say if they won't give you any of those, it's a definite red flag.

Hickey said if you don't go through the extra effort it could end up costing you.

"Victims are victims whether they buy the property, whether they have the property stolen from them or whether they think they're doing a legitimate transaction and they're the victims there too," Hickey said.

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly