Two men allegedly robbed people looking to buy used iPhones

July 25, 2013 (SCHAUMBURG, Ill.)

Police set up a sting operation to catch the suspects. Brandon Timberlake, 26, of Arlington Heights and Jay Dixon Jr., 25, of Skokie were arrested Tuesday evening in connection with three armed robberies related to iPhone sales on Craigslist.

They were each charged with one count of felony aggravated robbery.

"All three victims are wanting to do a prosecution," said Schaumburg Police Sergeant John Nebl.

In all three cases, the victims placed ads on Craigslist to purchase used iPhones. The victims all have businesses where they refurbish used cell phones. They were contacted by a seller who arranged to meet them in various parking lots in Schaumburg.

Nebl says the suspect would arrive and meet the victim and then display a handgun, robbing the victims of their money.

"It was a BB gun, but it was a replica that really looked like a real gun," said Nebl. "It's very scary."

A total of $20,000 was allegedly stolen.

"Each of the agreements for the purchase was for anywhere from maybe 15, 20, 30 iPhones, so the value was several thousand dollars, so they knew that the victims would be showing up with several thousand dollars cash, making them an easy and quick target," said Nebl.

Asked why anyone would want to buy a used iPhone that costs several hundred dollars, Nebl said: "If the electronic serial number has been changed, and if the phone has been jail-broken -- what that allows the buyer to do then is not go to a large cell phone company for service - they can go get cheaper phone service and they can also put software on it that wouldn't necessarily be allowed. So they are paying more for the phone to buy it but in the end getting benefits they would not get if they bought it directly from Apple."

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