A number of victims have been targeted through false car advertisements on the online auction website Ebay.
Between Tuesday 19 November 2019 and Wednesday 22 January 2020, police received 10 reports of armed robberies across Manchester and Oldham.
Having reviewed several lines of enquiry, detectives are now treating the incidents as linked and are investigating a further six incidents which have been reported as suspicious circumstances.
On most occasions, offenders falsely advertised a car on Ebay and organised to meet the buyers at a given location for the car sale. On arrival, the potential buyers were threatened with weapons, including with a gun, a hammer and machetes and offenders fled with a large quantity of the victim’s cash.
On one occasion, a victim and his girlfriend arrived to buy the advertised car. Two men – one of which was wielding a gun –approached the victims and held the weapon to the woman’s head as they stole a large quantity of cash from the victim.
On another occasion, a victim arrived to buy the advertised car. On arrival, two men threw a vehicle jack through the passenger window of the victim’s car, smashing the window and hitting the victim in the face. The offenders attempted to assault the victim and steal his bag, but the victim managed to escape and no money was stolen.
On a third occasion, a victim arrived to buy the advertised car. The offenders – who were wearing balaclavas and wielding machetes – approached the victim and threatened him with the weapons before stealing a large quantity of cash.
No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.
Detective Sergeant Kat McKeown, of GMP’s City of Manchester division, said:
“These offenders are targeting innocent members of the public via the internet and have no compassion at all for their victims who they have subjected to a number of terrifying ordeals.
“They are devious and ruthless and need to be caught. For this reason, we have a dedicated team of detectives working around the clock to identify those responsible. Though, I would like to take this opportunity to remind people to say alert and vigilant and report anything suspicious to police immediately.”
Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 4409, quoting incident number 1926 of 21/01/2020. Reports can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.