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posted: 3/19/2010 12:01 AM

Elgin man charged with attempted robbery in Craigslist scam

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  • DeShawn T. Mitchell

      DeShawn T. Mitchell

 
 

Police said an Elgin teen lured another man to a park with an online ad for a designer mobile phone, and then tried to take his money.

Police say that DeShawn T. Mitchell, 17, of the 200 block of North Gifford Street, is responsible for a phony advertisement on Craigslist in which he was selling a Nexus One mobile phone for $100 - the phone normally sells for $179. He has been charged with attempted armed robbery, police said

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Lt. Bill Wolf said people should be wary of items selling below their market value online.

"If it's too good to be true, generally speaking, it is," Wolf said.

Wolf said Mitchell suggested that the two complete the transaction in Lords Park.

At 3:28 p.m. on Wednesday, the man met Mitchell and another teenager at the park and showed them $100, with the teens displaying a different cell phone from the one in the online ad.

The man told the teens he didn't want that phone and one of the teens said, "We're just going to take everything that you have," according to police.

The man, still in his truck, drove away from the park, called the police, then followed the teenagers as they fled.

Police caught up with the boys on Hill Street and Addison Street, where they promptly ran away.

Officers eventually arrested Mitchell on Park and Hill streets, but did not find the other teenager, who is described as black and 17 years old with long hair styled in either a ponytail or in dreadlocks.

When police retraced Mitchell's steps, they found a .25-caliber handgun near a garage, Wolf said - he has also been charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

Mitchell's bond was set at $80,000 and his next court date is March 30 at the Kane County Judicial Center.

Attempted armed robbery is a Class 1 felony that carries a prison sentence ranging between four and 15 years.

This marks the second time this month that someone in Elgin was swindled after responding to a bogus ad on Craigslist for a designer phone.

On March 9, a man was robbed following up with a similar ad to buy two iPhones for $1,000 at the Buena Vista housing complex.

Police have made no arrests in that case and say the two are not related.

Meanwhile, before you buy something through Craigslist and similar sites, police suggest you learn as much about the seller as possible and that you complete the transactions in a public place.

"People really need to be careful about who they deal with on Craigslist," Wolf said.

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