VANCOUVER -- Surrey RCMP are cautioning people to be careful when meeting with potential buyers of items they are trying to sell online.

The warning comes after a man allegedly assaulted a cell phone seller and stole the phone near the Surrey Public Library on Jan. 18. In another similar incident on Jan. 19, a man allegedly tried to steal another phone outside a Surrey shopping mall, but the seller was able to run away.

Surrey RCMP arrested 20-year-old Joseph Peake on Jan. 19. He has been charged with two counts of robbery and one count of breaching court conditions.

Police say they have seen a number of similar robberies in the past few months involving "buy and sell transactions."

If you're using a web site like Craigslist or Kijiji to sell or to buy an item, police are recommending you take the following steps to stay safe:

• Insist on a heavily populated, public meeting place that is well-lit;

• do not meet in a secluded place or arrange to meet at your home;

• be especially careful when buying or selling high value items;

• tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’re meeting the buyer or seller;

• take your cell phone and a friend along to accompany you; and

• if you are verbally threatened or physically assaulted, avoid confrontation by giving the perpetrator the property. Call police as soon as possible.