A reminder to stay safe! The Hammond Police Department would like to remind the public that we are set up to keep your local purchases safe! The modern approach to buying and selling on sites such as OfferUp, Facebook, Craigslist, and others, is a great way to give and receive value for local items bought and sold. However, there is a safe way to conduct the interactions.
Hammond Police have received multiple reports since the beginning of this trend that have resulted in the theft of items or money from innocent parties. The most recent occurred on October 2nd when a 36-year-old Hammond resident attempted to sell his iPhone and meet the purchaser in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot in South Hammond. After a few minutes of discussion, the suspect grabbed the phone from the victim and ran.
"The majority of these interactions go smoothly but you can never be sure." said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty. "That is why we have designated parking area in our parking lot. This lot here at 509 Douglas street is under 24 hour video surveillance and surrounded by police 24 hours a day. The OfferUp sign designates where to park on the east side of the building. If your purchaser or seller is not willing to meet here, there may be a reason. Stay safe and find someone else for that sale."
Hammond police are also doing everything they can to catch these criminals in the act. On September 22, a Michigan resident received a check for the sale of his 2015 Chevy Equinox. After the vehicle was given to the purchaser, the owner learned that the check was fraudulent. The owner reported his vehicle stolen, and noticed days later that his vehicle appeared for sale back on Craigslist. He notified police and Hammond Police Detectives, along with Calumet City detectives, and the FBI, set up an undercover operation to "buy" back the vehicle.
The meeting area was set in Hammond and with all officers in place, the stolen vehicle arrived driven by two males. One suspect was immediately arrested on scene when the police approached the vehicle. One suspect fled on foot. Hammond police officer Lindsey Fritz saw the suspect and chased him on foot until he was apprehended by Hammond police officer David Hornyak. The arrest took place without incident and two criminals were removed from the streets. 29-year-old Darius Devon Love from Calumet City was arrested and charged with Auto Theft and Resisting Law-Enforcement.
This operation was successful, and these operations will continue as long as criminals attempt crimes in Hammond. However, the safest way to avoid becoming a victim is to conduct your transaction under video surveillance in the Hammond Police Department parking lot. It is available 24 hours a day and there to promote safe and secure transactions. We hope this will reduce the risk of fraud or theft that can sometimes accompany these transactions.