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Police: Pair lured would-be buyers for robberies

Posted: 12:51 AM, Mar 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-29 00:51:54-04

CINCINNATI -- A Cincinnati pair lured unsuspecting victims they'd met online with the promise of cheap stuff, only to rob them instead, according to Hamilton County court documents.

Michael Sullivan, 32, is charged with eight counts of aggravated robbery. Tahje Portis, 20, is charged with four counts of complicity.

In court documents, police allege Tahje Portis lured people to Winton Terrace, pretending the victim would be purchasing items ranging from a washer and dryer to flat-screen TVs or Play Stations that they'd found on OfferUp.com.

Once the victims arrived, police alleged, Sullivan would rob them at gunpoint.

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Both remained at the Hamilton County Justice Center on Tuesday night.

Among the tips for staying safe when buying online:

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe.
  • Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
  • Be especially careful buying/selling high-value items.
  • Consider making high-value exchanges at your local police station.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
  • Take your cellphone along if you have one.
  • Consider having a friend accompany you.

Many cities, including Hamilton and Montgomery in Ohio, have set up safe-exchange zones at their police departments.