TACOMA – Tacoma police said Friday that they’d arrested three teenagers suspected of using the online classified ad site Craigslist to lure robbery victims to Tacoma.
Heavily armed officers arrested an 18-year-old man and two 16-year-old boys about 10 p.m. Thursday near East 36th and East McKinley Avenue, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
“Our guys responded to one of their Craigslist ads, and they made contact and agreed to meet,” Fulghum said.
“Instead of being met by the ‘victims,’ they were met by the SWAT team.”
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Police booked the man into the Pierce County Jail and the boys into Remann Hall juvenile detention center for investigation of robbery, Fulghum said.
Detectives believe the trio are behind a series of heists where people responding to ads – usually for cars – have been threatened, attacked or robbed. In one case, a Bellevue man was beaten with a hammer, Fulghum said. Most of the victims live in King County, he said.
Detectives have been scanning Craigslist for similar ads, spotted a match recently and set up Thursday’s sting, Fulghum said.
Police recovered a handgun near the scene of Thursday’s arrests, he added.