SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver man is shaken after an arrangement with a stranger to buy their cell phone ended with him being assaulted.
The victim, who wants to remain anonymous, says he arranged to meet up with someone to buy their phone through a buy-and-sell app called Let Go. They agreed to meet in a public place during the day on Wednesday in Surrey.
He says when he got there, two guys, who looked like teens, wanted to see his money before showing the phone. He didn’t and then they pepper sprayed him.
“I actually didn’t expect two kids to pull something like this. It’s kind of traumatizing, although I’m still in denial,” he says. “My eyes were burning really badly. I couldn’t see at all for like 30 minutes. My whole face was burning as well, and a bit of my hands.”
The symptoms lasted eight hours.
He says one of them tried to chase him after pepper spraying him, but they ended up running off and he was able to keep his money. He says he has bought items through buy-and-sells before, but is more wary of using this method again.
Cpl. Elenore Sturko with Surrey RCMP says it’s a reminder to meet people at a public place, but even when people take steps to be safe, there is always danger.
“Despite the recommendations, they did fall victim to a crime. So we do let people know these kinds of things happen and we do urge them to be cautious,” she says.
Sturko says criminals can use these apps and buyers should be aware of this.
“If a person’s intent is to commit a crime, that’s where their intent is. There is a risk that some of these apps are being used by people who have the intent to commit crime,” she says. “You’re not sure who you are dealing with on the other end and there is some risk dealing with the unknown,” she says.
Some detachments have designated buy-and-sell meet up spots, but Surrey doesn’t. Instead, Sturko suggests meeting in a public place and being cautious is recommended.
This is the second pepper spray incident related to meet ups through the app NEWS 1130 has learned about. Another man was also pepper sprayed in Vancouver this week.
Surrey RCMP are investigating the incident.