DANIA BEACH, FLA. – A teen’s transaction with someone he met online took a dark turn, Wednesday, when the online buyer showed up with a gun.
Aharon Cohen, 16, works part-time at a Dania Beach e-commerce store, selling goods to buyers online. He thought he was selling an iPhone to someone he met online, Wednesday, but when the buyer showed up, it quickly turned into an armed robbery.
Surveillance video shows the armed robber pulling up outside the business in a white, older model sedan, possibly a Dodge Stratus. The car was missing hubcaps and its front bumper was loose.
Deborah Markus, Aharon’s colleague, said Aharon met the potential buyer and then went to retrieve the iPhone.
“Met them outside and then he came back in to get the phone, went back out, and by that time, the guy started forcing him in,” Markus said.
The thief forced Cohen into the back door of the business. Surveillance video shows the young robber, possibly in his 20s, grabbing the teen and threatening him by pointing a gun at his head and chest.
“The guy with gun grabbing Aharon and walking him around the room, asking him different things, ‘What’s this? What’s this?’” Markus said, “With the gun on him the whole time.”
Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Gina Carter said a second robber then arrived.
“This man put a gun to this teenager’s head, forced him inside the warehouse. A second man arrived, and they began to ransack the warehouse,” Carter said.
The second robber covered his face from view of the surveillance camera, but the robber with the gun didn’t.
“In this case, the warehouse had great surveillance video. It’s very, very clear,” Carter said. “We feel that anyone who sees it is going to recognize this armed robber and his accomplice right away.”
The robbers spent more than 10 minutes ransacking the business and taking boxes outside.
The armed robber even took something personal from Aharon.
“He took his tefillin,” Markus sai., “It’s a spiritual thing for the Jewish tradition.”
The set of small leather boxes contains scrolls inside with verses from the Torah.
After they took more than 40 electronic items outside, according to police, they demanded Aharon’s wallet and phone.
“When the robbers decided to leave, they actually made him strip his clothes off,” Carter said. “They took his phone. They took his wallet.”
Markus and Aharon hope someone will recognize the robbers.
“He’s very traumatized. I’m a little traumatized,” Markus said. “It definitely took a big toll on us.”
If you recognize either of the robbers in the surveillance video, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.