cellphone_in_handVancouver: One man is in custody after robbing a police officer of a cell phone on Friday night.

Following a rash of Craigslist cell phone robberies on Vancouver’s South Slope, detectives took matters into their own hands. They posted an ad on Craigslist offering an iPhone for sale on January 5th, and on January 6th, the crook took the bait, making plans to meet up with his intended victim.

Later that evening, both the undercover police officer, with iPhone in hand, and the suspect showed up at the prearranged meet location to complete the sale of the phone. The suspect approached the officer, hit her in the chest, grabbed the bag containing the iPhone, and ran. He was located in a nearby home a short time later, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Twenty-four-year-old Jacob Beck of Vancouver has been charged with three counts of robbery and remains in custody, pending his next court appearance on January 11th at 9:30 am.

Police are advising the public to use caution when initiating the sale of high-value items on resale sites, such as Craigslist, and to use the following safety tips to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime:

  • meet in a public place
  • bring a friend
  • don’t invite strangers into your home
  • take advantage of the public area in and around our police stations to exchange small, higher-risk items

“Scammers and thieves will never know when the person on the other end of an ad is a police officer,” says VPD Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham. “Posting an ad to sell fraudulent tickets, or with the intent of committing a robbery or theft, is one way to find a cop on Craigslist.”

Anyone who has information about these robberies, who has not yet spoken to police, is asked to call detectives at 604-717-0613.