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Couple says they were robbed during OfferUp transaction on Indianapolis' west side

Posted: 10:41 PM, Dec 19, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-19 22:41:27-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- A couple says they were robbed at gunpoint on Indianapolis' west side during a planned OfferUp transaction.

Melissa Buergelin and her husband planned to meet a woman at the Taco Bell on West Washington Street and South Lynhurst on Dec. 13.

They had discussed selling their washing machine to a woman for $80 using OfferUp.

“As we had just backed into this parking spot this man came from the other side of Taco Bell and basically pulled up and had his gun drawn, and said put your (expletive) hands up,” said Buergelin. “I saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought he was going to kill us."

Buergelin said the suspect took $130 in cash and her debit card, and then followed the couple as they left the parking lot.

“I was thinking with him behind us, he's going to start shooting,” said Buergelin. “I didn't know what he was going to do."

Many people use OfferUp, which is a marketplace similar to Craigslist, in which people buy and sell their stuff.

Indianapolis Metro Police responded to Buergelin’s call and IMPD is now investigating the robbery.

“I hope they find him,” said Buergelin. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. For whatever reason, he didn’t’ shoot us and we’re here today to talk about it.”

Call 6 Investigates contacted OfferUp for a comment on the incident.

“OfferUp is a marketplace for local buyers and sellers - we recommend meeting in person,” read their website. “Whenever possible, meet at a public location such as a cafe or shopping mall. Take extra caution when meeting for a high-value item, and consider meeting at your local police station.” 

Indianapolis Metro Police offered the following tips if you are conducting a transaction with someone in person.

  • We have e-commerce designated safe areas at each of our roll call sites.
  • Try to establish credibility of the buyer/seller by requesting a picture of them, their license and or vehicle description (they can always block their address information, but seeing a valid ID will help deter the would be criminal).
  • Meet during daylight hours or in a well-lit area with a lot of foot/vehicular traffic in the parking lot.
  • Don’t go by yourself. Have someone with you and have a safety plan in place.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, don’t fall for scams or be lured into an area you’re not comfortable with.
  • Let someone you know and trust know where you are at and check in periodically.
  • Dial 911 immediately at the first sign of trouble.

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