PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vancouver police are investigating an armed robbery after a teen was held at gunpoint while trying to sell a motorcycle.
Wendy Solberg said her 14-year-old son started buying dirt bikes, cleaning them up and flipping them. She said she and her husband weren’t aware he was buying a street bike, adding that they would not have approved had they known.
Solberg said her son went to sell the motorcycle in the Bank of the West parking lot in Vancouver just around the corner from where he lives at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. He thought he was meeting up with someone he connected with on the popular marketplace app OfferUp who said they wanted to buy the bike. Instead, he was confronted by a man in a ski mask and what appeared to be a bulletproof vest, claiming he was an undercover cop seizing a stolen bike.
“And that’s when he took a gun and pressed it to his head and said ‘get away from the f-ing bike,'” said Solberg.
Solberg said the robber took her son’s cash and phone, threatening to shoot him if he walked away and kill his mom if he called the police. Then he got on the motorcycle and left.
Solberg said her son was stunned. He stood in the parking lot for a while until he got a ride home from a neighbor. But despite the circumstances, the teen did notice some features through the robber’s ski mask.
“He had bright blue eyes, he had facial hair like his dad’s which is a short, scruffy beard, and it appeared to be red,” said Solberg, “and he was around 5’10 and very thin.”
Detectives with the Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit are investigating the case.
Police suggested using one of their Safe Exchange Zones when buying and selling items with strangers.
“Just because you met someone online doesn’t make them not a stranger,” said VPD spokesperson Kim Kapp.