Man charged after several women threatened with sexual violence selling items online in Edmonton
A man is facing charges after several incidents in which women were threatened with sexual violence while attempting to sell items they had listed online.
The incidents date back several years and the Edmonton Police Service also believe there may be more victims.
Police first began investigating earlier this month after a woman was allegedly threatened with sexual violence during an online transaction on Saturday, Feb. 4.
The man reportedly reached out to the woman to purchase an item she was selling on Facebook Marketplace.
After agreeing to buy what she was selling and getting her address to pick it up, police said the man offered the woman sexual favours as payment.
When she refused, he reportedly stated he had a gun and threatened her with sexual violence.
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The man was identified as Frederick Patrick Schmaltz, 46, who was charged with uttering threats and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Investigators then discovered Schmaltz was also wanted on two other warrants: one for uttering threats and one for impersonating a peace officer, related to a similar online exchange incident that took place in February 2022.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Schmaltz was arrested on all three warrants by Westlock RCMP in the hamlet of Vimy, located north of Edmonton.
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Police said investigators have since linked Schmaltz to at least four other similar online purchase incidents in Edmonton, dating back as far as January 2021 and continue to actively investigate them.
As a result, police believe there may be additional victims and are encouraging them to contact police.
Police said Frederick Schmaltz also often goes by the name Freddie, and has consistently been communicating via text at a phone number beginning with 780 and ending in 6638.
Edmonton police were unable to provide a photo of the suspect.
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Police are reminding people who buy and sell items online via sites like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji to be mindful of the information they provide and the location they choose to meet. Some safety tips are included below:
- Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers to your home. Instead, suggest meeting during the day at a public location, ideally with video surveillance, such as one of the EPS Buy and Sell Exchange Zones.
- Have someone accompany you when you meet the buyer or seller. If you cannot arrange for someone to accompany you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you are meeting and the details about who you are meeting. Let your contact know when the transaction is safely completed.
- Ask the buyer or seller for photo ID. Take a photo of it for your reference.
Anyone who believes they have been victimized by Schmaltz is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
Anonymous info can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.
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