Philly.com brings us a story of Chester cops learning how to protect those who buy or sell merchandise online and come to Chester to make the transaction. http://bit.ly/2EBvvwy

Chester police began tracking “online robberies” in their own category, separate from other robberies.

Apparently, not all robberies get the same treatment from Chester police. The online variety where sellers receive counterfeit money or buyers are set up to be robbed of their cash require a new skill set that the Chester police are determined to figure out.

Since January 2017, Chester police have logged 28 online robberies, in which the victim was a buyer or seller, according to police data.

That’s between 2 and 3 online heists per month. I wonder how much manpower it takes to handle these cases.

Of the 28 online robberies, 25 involved a weapon. In several of those cases, Nolan said, the victim was shot and injured.

Were they selling weapons or using the weapon to rob the person? Either way, if 89% of these online crimes involve a weapon, they probably should demand a priority from the Chester police.

“The headache for us on these cases is that they are very laborious,” Nolan said. “You got a lot of man-hours, a lot of search warrants.”

Will someone please send the Chester police some extra strength Excederin. We can’t have them getting headaches from all this hard work.

Camden and Upper Darby, police departments have seen success after designating secure locations, often called safe zones, for online transactions.

Here’s a model we can follow rather easily. But, no. Chester police have a better idea.

Nolan said Chester is working to establish best practices for investigating these crimes before focusing on preventive measures, which could include establishing a safe zone of their own.

I don’t know what to say about that! But, the Chester police does offer this advice…

If you’re meeting to buy or sell, do it in a public place during business hours, they said, and avoid middle-of-the-night meetings in places with which you aren’t familiar. “Just use a little bit of common sense.”

I’ll admit to having purchased a number of items on Craigs List without an issue. I’m almost certain the one used item I purchased was stolen – but I bought it anyway. The camera and lens was new in a box, but I wonder how the seller got it. The bike was purchased in the seller’s home and it came with a ton of bike accessories – including two pair of his old biking shorts which I promptly trashed. While there, I purchased an Apple desktop computer. He was a guy clearing out stuff from a lifetime of hobbies. And, I purchased an Apple laptop from a guy in Society Hill Towers.

As a careful buyer myself, my sellers were equally as cautious when and where the transaction was going to take place. I could never see myself buying an iPhone from someone who wanted to meet on 8th and Parker or 3rd and Penn. But, for those willing to take that risk, the Chester police are determined to be all over it once they determine their best practices for fighting online crime.