Couple shot in Portsmouth while buying phone through OfferUp app

Newly weds and soon-to-be parents shot while trying to purchase a phone using the app OfferUP

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC/WSOC) -- Portsmouth police are warning people who use the app OfferUp after a couple was shot Saturday night.

Officers said the shooting happened in the 2500 block of Moton Street, near Kinley Park around 8:55 p.m.

According to WSOC-TV in Charlotte, newlyweds and soon-to-be parents Fred and Emily went to meet a woman with whom they'd been communicating about buying a cell phone through OfferUp.

Fred's sister said the couple was asked to stay in their car for the meeting. Instead of a woman coming out to greet them, several man approached the car.

One of the men put a gun through a cracked window of the car, and as soon as Fred tried to start the car someone fired.

Fred, who was in the driver’s seat, was hit in the eye and chest. Emily, who was in the passenger seat, was shot in the chest.

The couple and their expected baby survived.

Captain Ken Saucer with the Portsmouth Police Department told 13News Now OfferUp allows users to select a time and a place to meet for transactions. With increased usage, officers have noticed an increase in robberies.

"They're being lured into neighborhoods where there's not a lot of traffic," said Saucer. "They're being victimized by predators whose sole purpose is to take their money."

Police said in the past month, there have been nine robberies directly linked to OfferUp. As a result, the department created a safe "meetup spot" to conduct business if using a marketplace app. The spot is located at 801 Water Street in Portsmouth, which is in front of the police station.

"We would ask citizens to use their best judgment and not be lured into quiet, desolate streets after hours in the dark where there's no one around to see what's going on," said Saucer.

Police say they have suspects in regards to the shooting but no further information was released.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the couple, and as of Tuesday it raised more than $11,000.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting of the couple to contact them at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Due to concerns for the couple's safety, 13News Now is not using the couple's last name.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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