APPLE fans are being targeted by a crook who agrees to buy valuable electronic equipment online and then seizes it by force.
Three men have been robbed in the same McDonald’s car park in Edinburgh after arranging to sell Apple gear on Gumtree.
Two computers and an iPhone have been taken and one of the sellers was assaulted.
All three victims believed they were meeting a genuine buyer for the goods which they had advertised on the classifieds website Gumtree.
Police, who say the spate of robberies started on January 20, are urging Gumtree sellers to consider their safety.
Police have not yet revealed the cost of the items, but a brand new iPhone 5 can cost up to £732.
The more expensive iMac desktop computers can cost £1,700.
The most recent victim, a 24-year-old man, met the suspect in the McDonald’s car park on the city’s Telford Road on Monday 18 February.
He had advertised an Apple computer on Gumtree, but the “buyer” he agreed to meet threatened him, grabbed the computer and ran 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.
On 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, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “While no victims were injured, all were understandably distressed as a result of their respective ordeals.
“We are carrying out enquiries in order to establish whether these incidents are linked.
“At the same time we are warning anyone conducting any transaction over Gumtree or a similar website to take precautions to ensure their safety.”
Anyone with any information about these crimes should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.