Suspect in Craigslist robberies arrested at city library, police say

May 25, 2012|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A man suspected in a rash of recent Craigslist robberies was taken into custody at a downtown library, where police say he was using a computer - possibly to set up more attacks.

David E. Brown, 26, is accused of orchestrating at least four robberies that took place in the 3500 block of Callaway Avenue, a residential street in Northwest Baltimore. Two attacks occurred last year, in August and November, but two others were reported to police this month.

Detectives were interviewing Brown to determine if he was involved in any other incidents, and charges were pending. He was taken into custody at about 11:30 a.m. at the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in the 400 block of Cathedral Street, police said.

The latest robbery occurred May 3. Police said a person wanting to buy coins from a Craigslist ad agreed to meet in the 3500 block of Callaway Ave., where he was held up by a man armed with either a black handgun for a black revolver. Police said the man stole $2,000.

Police said the robber had also struck the day before, on May 2. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the victim was seeking to make a $2,700 purchase and got in touch with the purported seller by telephone. They agreed to meet about 2:15 p.m., and the prospective buyer was robbed of the cash.

On Nov. 16, 2011, police said another victim was lured to Callaway Avenue, also on a ruse to sell coins. In this case, police said the gunman fired on the victim, but missed, and nothing was taken.

The first known attack occurred Aug 8, 2011, when police said another victim was lured to Callaway Avenue, this time pretending to have a watch for sale. This time, Guglielmi said, two men greeted the victim, one armed with a gun. Police said it appears that nothing was taken.

Brown appears to have only one prior arrest - a 2006 theft charge that was promptly dropped by city prosecutors. 

Police urge people who buy off Craigslist or any other Internet site conduct transactions during the day and in public places, such as a shopping mall, and to use cashier's checks when possible. 

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