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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Three men are in police custody, accused of using the online classifieds site Craigslist to lure unsuspecting victims into robberies.

According to Lt. Richard E. Wittenauer, a spokesman for the Collinsville Police Department, the most recent incident occurred Sunday, December 22 at 6:45 p.m. at an apartment complex on Sandridge Drive. The victim, a man from Florissant, told police he was answering an ad for a television. When the victim arrived outside the apartment complex, the suspect put a gun to his head and stole approximately $500 in cash.

Police searched the area and several buildings and located the suspects.

Investigators believe these men are connected to similar robberies in recent days, Wittenauer said.

On the night of December 17, a person told police he reached out to a person selling a TV on Craigslist and the two arranged to meet at an apartment building on Root Hill Court. When the victim arrived and entered the apartment, a second individual in a ski mask hit the victim with a bat and stole his money.

Two days prior, a similar robbery occurred at the same apartment building. The victim in that case was able to escape uninjured.

Wittenauer said police believe one of the suspects was involved in all three robberies, with the others taking part in at least one robbery. A fourth suspect is believed to have been involved. The investigation remains ongoing.

Charges may not be filed until the day after Christmas.

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