Back in January, 40-year-old Chad Laplante and a friend went to buy a video game system off of either OfferUp or craigslist. The pair was instead lured to a robbery where Mr. Laplante was shot. He spent close to a month in the hospital before finally succumbing to his injuries.
“He got a fungus because he laid open too long in the hospital. He had eight surgeries, three heart attacks and three failures of life.
The suspects are still at large and police are asking for the public’s help.
If you have information that could help investigators in the Laplante case, contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS. If your confidential tip leads to an arrest, you could receive a cash reward of up to $1000.00. If authorities confiscate a weapon during the arrest, the reward would increase by hundreds of dollars.
I know I sound like a broken record, kids, ask your parents, but the old rules don’t apply anymore. You can go to meet someone off of craigslist or OfferUp in public and with a friend and still end up dead. My advice is to not use either platform, but if you insist on doing so, meet the other person at your local police station. While it’s not a guarantee of safety, it’s better than just meeting someone on the street.
The meeting itself took place in the stairwell of an apartment which sounds like it was pretty hidden from public view. If you insist on meeting someone from OfferUp or any other classifieds site or app, please meet them at a local police department. While it’s not a guarantee of your safety, it sure does go a long way in dissuading criminals from trying to harm you.
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.