I’ve never liked the stories in the media when someone finds their stolen stuff on craigslist and then takes it back from the thief. Usually, the police aren’t involved and untrained people are dealing with potentially dangerous criminals. Sadly, that is what happened in Garland, Texas, a couple of weeks ago.
26-year-old Michael Ryan Love was said to have found his stolen camera equipment on OfferUp. When he approached the seller he took a number of people with him. The seller returned the camera to him but an argument ensued and a shootout followed leaving Love and another man dead.
Both craigslist and OfferUp are notorious for thieves trying to sell stolen goods on their platforms. If something of yours is stolen in any kind of burglary it’s a great idea to look on these platforms for your items. However, under no circumstances should you approach these thieves on your own. Always notify your local law enforcement. They may not work at the speed you wish they would. They may not even be able to get your stuff back, but no gadget or bicycle or any other material good is worth putting your life in mortal danger.
A 19-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, was shot in the shoulder recently during an OfferUp sale of shoes. Two men are said to have driven up to the victim’s home and the victim got in the men’s car. After money was exchanged one of the suspects drew a gun in a robbery attempt. In the ensuing struggle, the victim was shot in the shoulder. He was able to escape and call 911. His injuries were said to be minor, as far as being shot goes. Police say they have identified the suspects and are currently searching for them.
Outside of using OfferUp in the first place, the victim made two grave mistakes with his transaction. The first was allowing the suspects to come to his home. The second mistake was getting in the car with the two men.
If you insist on using an app like OfferUp, always make the transaction at your local police departments. Hardly a day goes by where some police station in the country is opening some form of safe zone for these kind of transactions.
In late April, 43-year-old father of seven Trinidad Bueno-Sanchez, also known as Javier Bueno, was killed during an OfferUp transaction that turned deadly. Mr. Bueno-Sanchez met a group of teens in a supermarket parking lot in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, to sell a cell phone to the teens. Instead the teens handed him only a few dollars and when Mr. Bueno-Sanchez leaned into the car to discuss the money the teens took off dragging their victim behind them. Sadly, Mr. Bueno-Sanchez fell and struck his head against the pavement. He died from his injuries three days later.
A man in Aberdeen, Washington, was held captive and beaten by three people who thought the man burglarized their home. The people had originally caught two other people who were trying to rob their home. The robbers indicated a third person was involved in the robbery. Rather than calling police they tracked down this man through OfferUp. The victim was selling a phone through the app and when he got to the meeting place the people tied him up and pistol whipped him before calling police.
“The way the guy looked when he was trying to cock his gun and it jammed,” Peterson explains. “He got mad at me because he couldn’t knock me out so he just kept beating me even harder with the bat. I thought this is it, you know?”
Needless to say, the would be crimefighters were arrested and the victim is not believed to have had any actual involvement in the robbery.
So first off, the vigilantes actually believed the word of two other people who broke into their home. Why would criminals have any reason to lie, right? Secondly, while bizarre and unlikely to happen, this is just another reason to use a police station for a meeting place when using an app like OfferUp. Lastly, leave the crime fighting to the professionals. You’re not Batman, you’re not The Punisher, hell, you’re not even Hawkeye.
An unnamed sailor in the Navy and his pregnant wife claim they were shot in Portsmouth, Virginia, during an OfferUp meeting where they thought they were buying a cell phone. They were on the way to the alleged seller at a home when their car was surrounded by several men. By their account, one man opened fire without hesitation.
The sailor was shot in the arm, chest and temple while his wife was shot in the chest narrowly missing her heart. According to their GoFundMe page for their medical expenses, the sailor has lost his eye and his wife suffered a collapsed lung. Thankfully, if that word can be used in this instance, the baby is unharmed.
If you have any information, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Just because OfferUp is an app and looks a lot slicker than old man craigslist, that doesn’t mean it’s any safer than craigslist. Remember, when doing any transaction from one of these sites or apps that require face to face interaction, always insist the deal be made at a police station. That won’t guarantee there won’t be any potential harm, but it severely limits that chance.
Police in Mesa, Arizona, have arrested 24-year-old Michael Alexander Abel for allegedly murdering 32-year-old Austin David Parton. Mr. Parton would buy used Apple products on OfferUp then resell them on eBay. Abel is said top have set up a meeting on OfferUp with his victim. The victim was shot in the back and some of his equipment and car were missing. Police were able to track down Abel through the OfferUp app and a witness identified Abel as the man who placed the ad which lured Parton to his death.
To my recollection this has only been the second OfferUp murder, the first being that of Hesham Kamel of Cleveland back in August. Again, just because some classifieds have moved from websites to mobile apps doesn’t make them any less dangerous. In this day and age, you should always meet a seller or buyer at a police station, a number of which will accommodate such transactions. If the other person can’t meet you there then walk away from the deal. Nothing that is sold online is worth your life.