A Perth woman is recovering from serious injuries after being dragged by a car along a stretch of road in a Gumtree sale gone terribly wrong.
Alexandria Elliott became the victim of a brutal crime on Saturday night when she was met with a number of men who posed as buyers on a Gumtree advertisement.
At around 7.30pm, two men approached the 22-year-old’s home in Coolbellup, Perth, claiming they wanted to purchase a Gucci belt she was selling for $290 online.
According to WA Police instead of handing over the cash, the men ran from the scene with the belt, making a quick dash for their car where a third man was waiting.
Alexandria’s boyfriend managed to grab one of the alleged thieves – who has been identified by police as a 15-year-old boy – while Alexandria chased after the second man who had the belt. Unfortunately she couldn’t catch him in time but managed to grab ahold of the car as it took off. She was then dragged for around 250m, with her feet caught underneath the vehicle.
A Coolbellup woman has been left with horrific injuries, after running after a thief who responded to her ad on gumtree.
She was one of several victims last night.
***WARNING: Some of the pictures may be confronting*** pic.twitter.com/TO5SO7sm5D
— 7NEWS Perth (@7NewsPerth) January 20, 2019
Shocking footage captured on CCTV and shared by 7 News Perth online, shows the vehicle swerving around corners at high speeds to get away.
The frightened woman was treated at the scene by paramedics before being transported to Royal Perth Hospital with severe gravel wounds on her feet and legs.
Speaking to 7 News Perth following the terrifying incident, an obviously shaken Alexandria detailed the shocking moment she hung on for life.
“They were just going to pick up more and more speed until I fell off, so I let go,” she told the news outlet. “I hit so heavy on the ground.
“I really needed the money and I think that’s why I chased after them. I just really needed that money to go towards my bills.”
Witness Tianna was nearby when Alexandria let go of the vehicle, and quickly called for help.
“I heard a bang and then her screaming, she was screaming for help, I knew then that something bad happened and I had to get the police and ambulance here as quick as I could,” she told 7 News Perth.
Alexandria has since created a GoFundMe page to help pay for her ambulance fee, along with household bills she had hoped to pay for with money from the Gumtree sale.
“Gumtree deal gone horribly bad,” she wrote on the page. “I was trying to sell my Gucci belt to pay for bills but now I’m in hospital unable to work. I now have an ambulance bill on top. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. As I’m not a Centrelink recipient but just a ABN self employed cleaner.”
At the time of publishing, more than $4,000 had been donated to Alexandria to help relieve the financial pressure resulting from the horrifying incident.
Alexandria wasn’t the only victim of a Gumtree sale gone wrong over the weekend. WA police confirmed there were four other incidents across Perth on Saturday between 3pm and 7pm.
In each of these cases thieves posed as buyers to purchase items advertised on Gumtree, but stole them instead. Police are yet to link the five crimes.
With hundreds, if not thousands of people selling and buying items online, Gumtree has advised users to take all precautions when meeting to exchange cash.
In a statement shared with Starts at 60, the company claimed the safety and security of the community is the main priority and any negative experiences are not taken lightly.
“While the majority of our community members have a positive experience, sometimes bad seeds do target our users,” the company said. “We work closely with law enforcement to assist with reported incidents, and urge users to report any suspected unlawful activity to the police.
“We also encourage anyone who thinks they have come across anything suspicious or concerning to report it to us using the ‘report ad’ function.”
Gumtree also encouraged all users to review the Gumtree Safety Tips and advised meeting in a public place with a friend or family member when letting someone view your items.
The shocking spate of robberies follows warnings from authorities to beware when undertaking Gumtree sales after a seller in Brisbane was held at gunpoint in October last year.
According to a Sunrise report, the simple transaction took a terrifying turn when a man was threatened with a gun by a group of men. The men had originally agreed to purchase an iMac computer they saw listed on the classified ads website, but things turned violent when they arrived to pick up the computer. The horrifying incident was captured on CCTV.
A new safety warning has been issued to Aussies buying and selling items online after a Gumtree seller was held at gunpoint in his home by thieves coming to collect a computer. 😳 #sun7 pic.twitter.com/2exbJOnSKL
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) October 7, 2018
According to the report, an attacker kicked the door down and eventually fled with his accomplices with a stolen iPhone. The victim, Teng Hin Cheong, fought back when he realised the guns the men were carrying were fake. H experienced injury to his ears and arms before the thieves fled the scene.