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Police: Alert officers track down online sale theft suspect in Amsterdam

Police: Alert officers track down online sale theft suspect in Amsterdam

Police: Alert officers track down online sale theft suspect in Amsterdam
Photographer: Gazette file photo

AMSTERDAM - Alert officers chased down a online sale theft suspect in Amsterdam after he snatched an item from the victim and ran, police said.

The police department also offered their lobby for online sale exchanges as a safer alternative to other locations.

The theft incident happened Wednesday night at a fast food restaurant in the city and involved a sale of a cell phone, police said.

The seller had offered the phone online for $400 and then went to meet a prospective buyer at the restaurant Wednesday evening, police said.

Once at the location, the seller handed the phone to the buyer to inspect. Instead of inspecting, though, the prospective buyer ran off with it, police said.

At the very time of the theft, though, two Amsterdam police officers happened to be right outside the restaurant on routine patrol, police said, and realized something had happened.

One officer pursued the suspect, while the other stayed with the victim and learned what had happened. 

State police troopers and Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies also responded and set up a perimeter. The suspect was taken into custody a short time later. Police also recovered the phone and returned it to its owner.

The suspect, 17, was arrested and charged. Police did not release his name due to his age.

As a result of the incident, the Amsterdam Police Department encouraged residents to use the lobby of the police station to as online sale exchange location to keep residents safe.

"If you are making a purchase from someone you met online or trying to sell something to them, their willingness to meet at the Police Station will tell you whether or not the person is legitimate or trying to scam you," police wrote. 

The department also included in its Facebook post on the case a photo of a sign in its lobby, noting it as an internet purchase exchange location and that the area is under video surveillance.

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