VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Those close to a Virginia Beach family are hoping to warn others about a Grinch stealing from people he meets online.
On Monday, Virginia Beach police responded to a strong-arm robbery in the River Oak Neighborhood off Indian River Road.
According to someone close with the victim’s family, a teen was trying to sell a PlayStation 5 to a man who inquired about it on Facebook Marketplace.
In security camera video, the teen is approached by two men in his driveway. One then grabs the device’s box and runs off with the teen chasing him.
10 On Your Side spoke with the person close to the family, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety reasons.
They told us the teen is doing OK but was intially shocked about what happened.
“You’re definitely concerned about your loved one and their safety,” they said.
The family friend says they found out about the incident online, called the family to get more information, then quickly started researching through Facebook, NextDoor, and other community groups to find out more information about the man who stole.
“Our loved one wasn’t the only person victimized. There were several cases before. Hopefully this helps the police with their cases because I’m sure those other people have filed police reports,” they said.
The family friend says the buyer left the vehicle they arrived in at the victim’s home.
They also found many others online who spoke up saying they were either almost the victims of porch pirates or actually had their devices stolen by the same man in the video — and it was done by someone using the same username in all cases.
They do not believe that sites like Facebook Marketplace are bad and can actually help a lot of people, but they hope sites can do more for protection because the user deleted their account, according to the family friend.
“I’m concerned about my loved one but thank goodness he’s safe and unharmed. In the end, it’s just a PS5 taken and not a life. Then you have to look at these places like Facebook Marketplace where it’s being initiated. How are they taking steps for the owners of property where it’s being stolen?” they said.
Virginia Beach police say the incident is currently being investigated as well as another incident on Dec. 5 on Amberly Forest Road where another PS5 was stolen. The victim sustained minor injuries after hanging onto the victim’s vehicle while trying to stop them, according to police.
Police say the victim arranged for the buyer to meet them at their home, which is not suggested.
Police encourage people to use their police precincts and to never go alone.
The family friend hopes this serves as a warning to others and believes that being even more cautious online can help.
“Digging a little deeper into who you’re interacting with will help too. Maybe if this person has never sold on the app, I won’t buy from that person just yet. I’ll wait for their profile to build,” they said.