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Authorities seeking armed Craigslist robber

A man who met a stranger to buy an iPhone posted on Craigslist.org was robbed at gunpoint Saturday, authorities said.

The man had arranged to pay $500 for the phone and met the seller behind a Carl's Jr. restaurant near 9303 Las Tunas Drive in unincorporated Temple City at about 3:20 p.m., according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Martinez.

Instead, the seller pulled out a semiautomatic pistol, took the victim's cash and fled on foot, Martinez said.

The suspect was described as Asian, about 5 feet 9 inches and 160 pounds, wearing a red jacket, Martinez said.

Martinez said the victim did all he could to ensure the transaction was safe.

"Broad daylight in a public place -- you really can’t ask for anything more than that," Martinez said.

He said it was difficult to offer advice to others who use the online marketplace.

"This is so new, we don’t really have guidelines on it," he said. "Just be careful."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Comments () | Archives (9)

Try putting a police station to good use for a change. Do the exchange in the lobby.

I agree. There should be some sort of sponsored safe haven for these exchanges, staffed with security during certain hours.

I'm not sure how $500 cash is a good idea in any case...

That's a nice idea... police station lobby.

I like police station lobby idea

You don't even have to do it in the lobby -- just meet in front. It's doubtful anyone with criminal intent wants to come within a hundred feet of the cop shop, especially in Temple City where the L.A. County Sheriffs will unleash.

There are ways to protect yourself from robbers.

1) Never arrange a transaction exclusively via email. Email accounts can easily be made anonymously, and there is no way of knowing whom your really speaking to until it is too late. If the person doesn't have a phone number, or won't give it out to you, then don't meet with them.

2) When selling, use anonymous caller I.D. blocking. Legitimate buyers with caller I.D. blocking can easily disable the function on their phone temporarily in order to get their call to go through to you. The criminals, generally, move on to the next victim or insist on using email as their only means of communication.

3) Sellers that are willing to sell at a huge discount and buyers who don't ask a lot of questions and seem willing to pay full price might be hiding something, especially if they propose meeting outside a liquor store or behind a Carl's Junior. If the proposed place of meeting seems peculiar, ask them if they are okay meeting at or near a police station, as other posters have suggested.

4) Chat with them for a bit and get a feel for if they seem like a real person. If they seem a bit tenser or nervous or strangely interested in meeting you at a particular place as soon as possible, proceed with caution.

Use Ebay and Paypal instead.

Enough said.

Get their full name & address & ask them what type of work they do & for which company. You can call their company to be sure they work there. I'm sure thousands of sales in person go well - but there's always a few low-life thieves out there. This could also have happened if an ad was placed in a newspaper.

(He said it was difficult to offer advice to others who use the online marketplace.

"This is so new, we don’t really have guidelines on it," he said. "Just be careful.")

new? where has this officer been hiding, craigslist is not new... nor is the idea of scamming someone thru craigslist. as the above commenters just pointed out, its really not that hard to offer good advice or guidelines for such a thing either?


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