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Craigslist iPhone purchaser instead robbed at gunpoint

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Author Topic: Craigslist iPhone purchaser instead robbed at gunpoint  (Read 99 times)
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« on: February 27, 2011, 11:42:09 am »

Advisory Message has been issued by the LASD - Headquarters Newsroom (SHB), Los Angeles County Sheriff.

Sunday February 27, 2011 9:12 AM PST

Craigslist iPhone purchaser instead robbed at gunpoint. Two arrested.
The planned purchase of an iPhone instead ended with a Lawndale man being robbed at gunpoint at a planned meeting in Temple City

A Lawndale man (victim) met with an Asian man (suspect) at a restaurant parking lot in the 9400 Block of Las Tunas in Temple City, February 19, at about 3:00PM.

The men had agreed to meet after the victim answered an advertisement for an iPhone for sale for $500.00 on Craiglist.

Instead of selling the victim the iPhone, the suspect pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded that he hand over all his money. Fearing for his life, the victim gave the suspect the $500 in cash, which he had brought with him to pay for the iPhone. The victim then turned and ran for his life. The victim was not injured.

Investigators from the Asian Gang Team, Operation Safe Streets, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, conducted the investigation, assisted by deputies with Temple Sheriff's Station.

The investigation led to the identification of the suspect as Daniel So, 19.

On Friday evening, February 25, 2011, deputies from the Sheriff's Asian Gang Team staked out the suspect’s South Pasadena home. They saw the suspect enter a vehicle with a White male and drive away from the residence. Deputies conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and arrested So for the robbery.

The vehicle they were in belonged to the White male, identified as Suspect Garrett Helstrom, 20, of South Pasadena.

Inside the vehicle, deputies found an exact replica of a semi-automatic handgun and suspected stolen property.

Helstrom was arrested for allegedly aiding So with the robbery.

Both So and Helstrom are being held under $100,000 bail each at Temple Sheriff’s station.

Investigators believe that So and Helstrom may have committed similar robberies in the San Gabriel Valley area. If you were a victim of this type of robbery, please contact sheriff's investigators or your local law enforcement authorities and report it.

Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website

Safety considerations:

People usually purchase or sell possessions without anything going wrong. However, criminals will use a variety of means to steal or do others harm. By following good safety precautions, you can reduce the chance that you will have your property stolen, and even more importantly, that you avoid harm.

When meeting someone for the first time, including to make a purchase or to sell something, please remember:

* Your personal safety is your priority

* Legitimate buyers and sellers will be as concerned about their personal safety as you are about yours.

* Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe. Do not meet in a secluded place, and never invite strangers into your home.

* Highly populated and well traveled areas are usually safer

* Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items

* Tell a friend or family member where you are going and with whom exactly you are meeting

* Consider having a friend accompany you

* Take your cell phone along

* Trust your instincts. Leave if someone or something looks suspicious, especially if you arrive at the location and there is no vehicle visible.

* It is better that you feel impolite and drive away, than to risk your safety.

* If you are robbed, give the suspects the property they are asking for; your life and personal safety is more valuable than your property.

* Your personal safety is your priority

Sergeant Steve Kim
Asian Gang Team
Operation Safe Streets Bureau
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
(310) 603-3100

Captain Mike Parker
Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau – Newsroom
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
(323) 267-4800

Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
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