Man answering Craigslist ad robbed at gunpoint

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- It was a cyber crime that spilled over to the streets of Algiers.

Police say a buyer from Mississippi answered an ad on the online marketplace Craigslist for a 2006 Volkswagen Passat. The seller, who went by the name "Angelo," instructed the buyer to meet him Monday night in the 2900 Block of Hudson Place.

Police say during the test drive, "Angelo" pulled a gun and ordered the buyer to hand over $3,500 in cash. He let the victim out of the car and sped away.

Lawrence Olivier lives on Hudson Place. He said he's purchased vehicle on Craigslist in the past.

But, he said this crime is a bit surprising. "Never would I have even thought the seller would be the guy with the gun," said Olivier. "I figured, the buyer, you have to be careful of those buyers, coming by your house and so forth."

Police say the suspect had no real connection to the 2900 block of Hudson Place.

"A convenient place to commit the crime, an abandoned house or a house for sale or something of that nature," said NOPD 4th District Commander Shaun Ferguson.

The NOPD is trying track down the robber by information he posted on Craigslist.

"We tried the number that he put out there that he was using for his information," said Ferguson. "That number did not come back up to anything. We believe they're using a phantom or ghost phone numbers."

The Better Business Bureau says Craigslist users should always meet the buyer or seller in a public place. Bring a buddy and never carry cash.

"You don't have to have a whole lot of cash on you to have a gun pulled on you," said the BBB's Cynthia Albert. "But, if that individual knows that you may have a few thousand on you, it's just really tempting."

Ferguson also had some safety tips.

"The message we want to put out there is that they should pick a highly populated place or somewhere that is well lit, that they can be comfortable, that be for the buyer and the seller," said Ferguson. "They can come here to the police station."

Ferguson said you should also be aware of who you're dealing with on Craigslist.

"Craigslist, I believe is a good tool to use, but it's one of the risks that you're going to be taking or encountering when you try to make a transaction with an unknown subject or an unknown party at an unknown location also," he said.

The Craigslist robber is described as a black man with a medium build with a short weave haircut and diamond studs in each ear. He was last seen driving a black 2006 Volkswagen Passat.

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