Buying items off of Craigslist can be a very risky proposition, and it’s not uncommon for scammers to take advantage of customers on the site.
That’s what allegedly happened to several potential customers who were interested in buying a 2003 Toyota Echo in Des Moines, Washington.
According to King5 News, a man allegedly tricked customers into giving him cash for the 2003 Echo, only he took the cash and left in the car and ripped off the potential buyers.
Here’s the ad for the car. It claims the seller is getting rid of the car because his mom rarely drives:
“2003 Toyota ECHO runs and drives great! New transmission, New brakes also a brand new oil Change. My mom rarely drives she can’t so she want to sell it so she can buy something she’ll value more.”
The man allegedly scammed 23-year-old Rithy Sann out of $700. Sann wanted to test drive the car, but the seller demanded that he give him cash first. After the test drive, the seller told the customer to go look in the trunk, and he hopped in the driver’s seat and took off with the $700.
Another potential customer lost $500 the same way, which led police to get involved. They set up a sting operation at Red Robin, but when they went in for the arrest, the man took off and led them on a chase.
The police eventually caught him (Toyota Echo’s aren’t exactly known for their speed), but only after the car lost a tire and sideswiped another car first.
Des Moines Police Commander Doug Jenkins told King5 News he gives his officers credit for setting up and executing the sting operation.
“Our officers could have taken the report and been done with it,” Jenkins said. “But they took the initiative to actually contact this guy and basically set it up. So we give our officer all the credit in the world.”
The suspect is an 18-year-old, and his mom had no idea he was using the car to scam people. He was booked on felony alluding and will likely face two charges of gross misdemeanor theft.
Sinn will get his money back from the scam, and hopefully the other victim will as well.