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Man arrested in Craigslist robbery scheme

Terri Rupar

A man has been arrested in connection with a scheme in which electronic equipment was advertised at deep discounts on Craigslist, and would-be buyers were robbed when they showed up, Prince George’s County police said.

They said the man was arrested Aug. 13 after officers, pretending to be purchasers, went to a house in the Forestville area in response to a Craigslist advertisement.

Police said the man was charged in two incidents, one in Forestville Aug. 5 and one in Clinton.
In the incidents, victims agreed to meet the “seller” at an abandoned house or other out-of-the-way location, police said.

Police declined Friday to release the name of the suspect, saying that it could compromise their investigation.

Det. Chad Miller asked people who think that they may have been victims of such a scheme to call the police department’s district 3 robbery suppression detectives at 301-772-4425.

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Terri Rupar  |  August 27, 2010; 9:40 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Zapotosky  
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So the victims in this tale were going to abandoned buildings to purchase at "deep discounts" what they could only reasonably believe was stolen electronic equipment, except that (surprise!) the deal advertised on such a reputable source as Craigslist turned out to be shady.

Um... DUH?!

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | August 28, 2010 5:52 AM | Report abuse

ComfortablyDumb, ObviousMan is shaking his head in utter wonderment!

Posted by: swatkins1 | August 28, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Greed is the driver behind both the alleged perp and the victims.

Posted by: peter51 | August 28, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The prospective buyer didn't necessarily know that it was an abandoned house. Just that it was at a given address. I've never bought electronics on the cheap at CL on the theory that if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. I have, however, gone to a residence to pick up items such as a futon or car seat. I would have no idea about the state of occupation until I arrived.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 28, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Name of arrest suspect declined to be released by police? Isn't that a matter of public record? Compromise investigation? It's done. They made an ARREST. Please Zapotosky don't let them do that to you. Go to the courthouse and look at the arrest documents and publish his name.

Posted by: proof | August 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Why assume that people were greedy when they were just trying to buy an item at a good price? Lots of honest people would do the same thing. Looking for a bargain is not a crime. Blame the criminal, not the victims.

Posted by: Reader_ | August 28, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Many people probably didn't realize just how lucrative the classified ad business has historically been to newspapers. Craigslist has decimated them on that business, so they love to pillory Craigs every chance they get with stories about "Craigslist killers" and "Craigslist robbery schemes".

Posted by: brewstercounty | August 28, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

child, please.... looking to but an discounted IPhone at a place other than a reliable vendor is asking for trouble.

Posted by: terpfan4141 | August 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Walk into a building that appears abandoned to by quality technology items? DUH!!!

Posted by: DecafDrinker | August 28, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the "victims" actually called the police to report a crime after they were about to commit a crime of their own. I love the system, lock all of them up.

Posted by: Jsuf | August 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone would be curious about normally costly items at deeply discounted prices. I inquired about a brand new Dodge Viper I saw on in early 2005. It was allegedly being sold for $48,000, though its list price was approximately twice that. I contacted the seller, who said he and his wife were living in Rome, he had bought the car for her, she didn't like it, and he wanted to sell it quickly. Of course, the car was (allegedly) in Italy, and of course, the man needed full remittance before he would ship the vehicle. The VIN checked to a dealership in Normal, Illinois, but there was no clear record of current ownership. It all seemed like a very-well-thought-out scam. I contacted and the FBI. The ad was pulled from, but the FBI said that it was not in their lane to investigate.

Posted by: rmagritte | August 28, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

The victims are victims. Why is that so hard for so many people to understand? Do you really think the would be robbers would tell the the victims the address given was to an abandoned property. Give the crooks a little more credit than that. Plenty of people have traveled to an unknown address to buy or pick up an item purchased through an advertisement whether online, newspaper or just by word of mouth. Regarding the good deal, everything drops in value as soon as it's purchased and becomes used especially electronics. In these tough times there are plenty of good deals out there from people selling belongings they purchased with the intent on keeping and enjoying. This crummy economy has many people buying and selling goods privately. Don't be so quick to judge victims it could have just as easily been you or someone you know. Just a thought........

Posted by: scott91 | August 31, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

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