Four men were arrested in Fairfax County after police said they tried to rob a 15-year-old boy who had agreed online to sell one of them a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers.
A county police officer came across the robbery as it unfolded inside a car in the parking lot of an Annandale shopping center late Monday night.
The boy had placed an ad online for the shoes and agreed to meet a potential buyer at the Little Run Shopping Center in the 7400 block of Little River Turnpike at about 10:50 p.m.
Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell would not say how the boy ended up inside the men’s vehicle. Along with the sneakers, the boy carried an iPhone and other pairs of shoes that he planned to sell, Ms. Caldwell said.
An officer passing by the moving car saw the boy in the passenger seat motioning in distress and called for assistance to stop and investigate.
Police recovered a gun from one of the men and charged all four with robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and abduction.
Marion Kenneth Allen Jr., 22, Cye Adam Penn, 22, Bryant Robinson, 19, and Xavier Hall, 22, all of Prince George’s County, were held without bond Monday night, Ms. Caldwell said.
Police urge people to use caution when agreeing to sell items to strangers through online ads, encouraging sellers to meet during daylight hours in a public place and never to go alone.
“While typically there are thousands of online transactions every day, few of them end up in this way,” Ms. Caldwell said.