Gumtree thief of Apple computers and iPhone hunted

Tom McFarlane was spotted by police trying to flee Dens Park. Picture: Julie Bull
Tom McFarlane was spotted by police trying to flee Dens Park. Picture: Julie Bull
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A ROBBER who arranged to meet people selling expensive electronics at a McDonald’s restaurant before robbing them of Apple computers and an iPhone was today being hunted by police.

The suspect, posing as a genuine buyer on the Gumtree website, has struck three times, with the latest robbery on Monday seeing a 24-year-old man robbed of an Apple computer after being threatened.

Police are investigating two incidents from last month which took place in similar circumstances.

The latest victim went to the McDonald’s in Telford Road after agreeing to meet the suspect, whom he believed wanted to purchase his computer, via the Gumtree site.

But upon meeting the victim in the restaurant’s car park, the suspect threatened him and grabbed the device before running off.

The theft bears a striking similarity to two incidents which happened in quick succession in January in the same car park.

On Sunday, January 20, a 31-year-old victim had agreed to meet the suspect after advertising an iPhone, again on Gumtree.

This time, the suspect wrestled the item from his grasp before making his escape.

The following day, a 33-year-old man was assaulted and robbed of another Apple computer, which had again been advertised for sale on Gumtree.

Inspector Mark Rennie, who is leading the inquiry, said: “While no victims were injured, all were understandably distressed as a result of their respective ordeals.

“We are carrying out inquiries in order to establish whether these incidents are linked.

“At the same time we are warning anyone conducting any transaction over Gumtree or any similar website to take precautions to ensure their safety.”

Anyone with any information about these crimes should contact police on 0131-311 3131, or 0800 555 111.

Police are urging Gumtree sellers to consider their safety.

Although the cost of the stolen items has not been revealed, a brand new iPhone 5 can cost up to £732, while iMac desktop computers can cost £1700.

Gumtree could not be reached for comment.