Online purchase

Montrealers urged to take precautions in ‘physical world’ after online purchase ends in stabbing

After a stab wound Monday evening in a quiet corner of Anjou, residents wondered why. But police say they have an answer: It was a theft, they believe, that took place in an online transaction gone wrong.

A man who witnessed the crime says it shook him.

“After a few minutes I heard a noise outside, a guy shouting for help,” said the witness, who asked not to publish his name for security reasons.

“It’s something you don’t want to see every day. It’s about safety – I don’t feel safe anymore.”

The stabbing victim, a 39-year-old man, is recovering in hospital and police are looking for two suspects.

Police are issuing a new round of warnings, asking people to be cautious if they plan to meet strangers to trade goods purchased on Kijiji or Facebook.

“You can be the victim of a theft, or it can be a scam,” said Manuel Couture of the Montreal police.

The man who co-runs a popular e-commerce page on Facebook said he agreed with police – it’s important to take precautions.

“These platforms don’t have — and it doesn’t matter what platform it is — don’t have built-in security,” said David Morton, who runs Facebook group Bunz Montreal.

“And that’s something that they personally can’t take responsibility for, because it’s the digital world versus the physical world. So you have to take personal responsibility, in my mind.”

He suggested meeting in cafes and busy areas to keep things as safe as possible.

Police have also set up secure transaction points throughout the city, some on the street and others in police stations, where there are cameras and usually officers nearby.

“If you tell the other person you want to meet next to a police station with cameras, [and] if that person…says they don’t want to go…it might be someone trying to rob you,” Couture said.

In peaceful Anjou, the local police station is an option. And some residents say it will take some time for them to feel safe again after this attack.