Two dead in craigslist-type killing in Georgia

Two dead in craigslist-type killing in Georgia

Two men in their 20s were shot and killed on Monday in Walton County, Georgia, after what the local sheriff called a “Craigslist-type situation”. The site or app used has not been made public yet, but this is another online-fueled robbery turned murder that has happened in Georgia in so many weeks.

The victims have yet to be identified, however, a 16-year-old has been apprehended but another suspect is still at large. The local sheriff is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the apprehension of the suspect.

I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.

Two men charged in Georgia’s latest craigslist killing

Two men charged in Georgia's latest craigslist killing
Brooks and Scott

Last Monday afternoon, 26-year-old Mezaio Pickett was shot and killed in a restaurant parking lot in Smyrna, Georgia. Local news outlets reported the killing was related to a craigslist deal gone wrong. I did not see any word on if this was a robbery planned from the start, or what item the deal may have involved. Pickett’s alleged assailants remained at large for two days before police arrested 22-year-olds Damien Akeen Scott and Vincent Diandrez Brooks. Both have been charged with homicide-murder and aggravated assault.

Sadly, the Peach State of Georgia is not unfamiliar with craigslist killings and other crimes. While the most high-profile one was the murder of elderly couple Bud and June Runion, there has also been the recent disappearance of Vicente Cruz, and the murder of 51-year-old Sam Norman who was using the classifieds app LetGo.

When dealing with people from craigslist, the old rules no longer apply. It isn’t just enough to meet someone in public. Too many people have been hurt for this to be a viable form of business anymore. Most articles state the best way to complete these transactions safely is to meet at a police station, but how much longer will it be before a robbery is even attempted there? That’s not even counting the less than legitimate transactions that have led to violence. With such a low barrier of entry and the perceived notion of anonymity it gives its users, craigslist is just a bad deal all around.
Continue reading “Two men charged in Georgia’s latest craigslist killing”

Ga. man missing after trying to sell truck on craigslist

Ga. man missing after trying to sell truck on craigslist
Vicente Cruz

44-year-old Vicente Cruz, of Austell, Georgia, went missing after going to meet someone who wanted to look at his truck he was selling on craigslist. Mr. Cruz went missing in Atlanta on May 1st, however, his vehicle was located on the 2nd with blood inside the truck. Police say it’s too early to comment on the blood, but they do believe foul play could be involved. No arrests have been made and police are asking for the public’s help.

Cruz is described as 5-foot-9, 230 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to police. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, gray tennis shoes, green hat and a checkered shirt.

If you know any information about Cruz, you can call the Atlanta Homicide/ Missing Persons Unit at (404) 546-4235.

While I hope and pray Mr. Cruz is returned safely to his family and friends, this is already an all too familiar occurrence. In 2015, Bud and June Runion, also from Georgia, were lured to their deaths when they went to look at a muscle car that was advertised on craigslist. Their accused killer is said to have shot them both just so he could steal from the elderly couple.

Simply put, craigslist is the textbook definition of unsafe. The amount of violent crime committed through its pages is nothing short of staggering. As long as these crimes continue to pose a threat to life and limb craigslist should not be used for any kind of transaction.
Continue reading “Ga. man missing after trying to sell truck on craigslist”

Two suspects arrested in LetGo murder of Georgia man

Two suspects arrested in LetGo murder of Georgia man
Cicero Smith

I originally posted about the murder of 51-year-old Sam Norman here. Mr. Norman was shot and killed in DeKalb County, Georgia, earlier this month after going to meet someone he thought was selling a drone on the mobile marketplace app LetGo.

Yesterday, DeKalb County police announced that they had made an arrest but did not release any information about it. Today, it was announced that two suspects have been arrested for Mr. Norman’s murder. The suspects are 18-year-old Cicero Smith and an unnamed 15-year-old juvenile. Investigators were able to subpoena the user information from LetGo which led them to Smith. A search of Smith’s home is said to have turned up drone parts that were used in the ad. Smith is also believed to have shot Mr. Norman in the chest. Mr. Norman was said to have given pursuit in his vehicle before succumbing to his injuries. No word yet on if the juvenile will be charged as an adult.

As free apps like these become more prolific, and as more people ignore the safety issues, we will only see more bloodshed. Much like craigslist, since the barrier of entry to these apps is nil, it’s an easy allure for criminals looking to make a quick buck through robbery. However, hopefully the fact that LetGo assisted police in finding the suspect will let criminals know that they can be found.

Ga. father killed after going to meet a seller from LetGo

Ga. father killed after going to meet a seller from LetGo

51-year-old Sam Norman was shot to death last week in DeKalb County, Georgia, after planning to meet someone who claimed to be selling a drone on the LetGo app. If you haven’t seen their commercials, LetGo is a craigslist competitor in app form. Mr. Norman went to meet someone who was purportedly selling a drone, instead Mr. Norman was found in his truck having been shot to death.

Police are still searching for Mr. Norman’s killer and has been described by a witness as a man wearing a white T-shirt and a black hat. Investigators are combing LetGo for any possible leads.

Just because apps like LetGo and 5miles look slick and professional, and aren’t craigslist, doesn’t mean that the old rules don’t apply anymore. Meet during the day somewhere that is as public as possible, preferably at your local police station. Once some new facet of technology comes along, it doesn’t take very long for criminals to try to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, that sometimes can cost someone their life.

UPDATE 3/13/2017: An arrest has been made in Mr. Norman’s murder, however DeKalb County police have not released the alleged suspect’s name.

Ga. suspect accused of Backpage murder of pregnant woman

Ga. suspect accused of Backpage murder of pregnant woman
Terique Dwayne Hall

24-year-old Terique Dwayne Hall of Atlanta has been charged with the murder of 20-year-old Ashley Mays, in DeKalb County, Georgia. Hall allegedly murdered Ms. Mays by smothering her with a pillow after zip tying her hands and feet. Ms. Mays was also nine months pregnant and the baby did not survive either.

Hall met Ms. Mays through Backpage where she was being advertised as an escort. This allowed Hall to allegedly gain access to Mays’ home where he is said to have assaulted and killed her.

Once again, Backpage would have you believe that this is what constitutes free speech. Not only that but this is yet another example of where Backpage is not protecting sex workers. This man was able to enter his victim’s home through Backpage. That doesn’t sound like safety to me.

UPDATE 12/16/2016: As it turns out, Hall is an alleged serial rapist and on top of that he allegedly tried to film himself murdering his victim, Ashley Mays.

In case you were wondering, Georgia does have the death penalty, I believe this would be considered a capital crime, and the state does use it liberally.

Georgia murder linked to craigslist

Georgia murder linked to craigslist

38-year-old Jamal Hodge of Union City, Georgia, was shot and killed in the nearby city of College Park on November 5th. Police are now saying that his death may have had something to do with an item that he was selling on craigslist. It’s currently unknown what Mr. Hodge was trying to sell, but whatever it was, it seemed important enough for someone to kill for it. A witness has said that two men walked over to Mr. Hodge’s truck and shot him dead. According to the unofficial Craigslist Killing blog, this would make Mr. Hodge victim #106, if this is indeed a craigslist killing.

One thing that struck me about this story was that the Fox 5 Atlanta article mentioned that Mr. Hodge was not only a good man by all accounts, but that he was a martial arts expert as well. When I briefly trained in the martial arts, I saw some masters of it do some amazing things. Unfortunately, even that skill can’t always protect you. With craigslist being as dangerous as it already is, I wouldn’t want my worst enemy using it.

My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Hodge’s family and community that he seemed to be an integral part of.

Georgia murder linked to craigslist
Jamal Hodge

The suspects are still at large.

Atlanta Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information about this case, please call police at 404-577-TIPS (8477)

Atlanta stepfather confronts Kik kreeper at truck stop shower

Atlanta stepfather confronts Kik kreeper at truck stop shower
Brian Grabia

An Atlanta, Georgia, stepfather is said to have noticed strange messages and pictures being sent to the phone of his 12-year-old stepson through Kik. The man then posed as his stepson and sent a reply to the alleged sender. The stepdad said “I’m 12. Do you have a problem with that?” The perpetrator messaged back “Well I thought you were 18, but that’s no problem” according to the stepfather. He then arranged to meet the man at truck stop shower stall where he collared 35-year-old Brian Grabia.

“He reached in to start taking his clothes off, reaching towards his stomach. At that point I jumped out of the shower and it all went down from there,” the stepfather said.

No word if ‘it all went down from there’ included a righteous ass whuppin’. Police did arrest Grabia and found him to be in possession of two cellphones which can be an indicator of a creeper.

While any father or stepfather worth their salt will always say they’ll beat the man whoever approaches their kids like that, in reality it’s best to leave things like this to police. While a beating may be deserved, not only can it jeopardize an investigation, it can lead to charges as well.

TN man missing after leaving for craigslist job

George Higgins
George Higgins

34-year-old George Higgins of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, has been missing for close to a month. He left his home in order to take a maintenance job that he found on craigslist. His family spoke with him the day the job was supposed to start and that was the last time they spoke with him. The last location for Higgins’ cell phone was almost 90 miles away in Mineral Bluff, Georgia.

If you may have seen George Higgins call Soddy Daisy Police at 423-332-3577

As much as I’m praying for Mr. Higgins to be returned safely to his family I can’t help but be reminded of Richard Beasley of Ohio. Beasley used phony craigslist employment ads to lure several men to their deaths in order to steal their identities so he could avoid prosecution for other crimes. However I hope to God that’s not the case here.

Woman tried to steal baby in September 2014 craigslist killing in Ga.

Woman tried to steal baby in September 2014 craigslist killing in Ga.
Catherine Goins

Back in September of last year 37-year-old Catherine Goins was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing 30-year-old Natalia Roberts. Reports say that Goins lured Ms. Roberts to her ex-boyfriend’s home in Ringold, Georgia, claiming she was selling baby clothes. Goins is then said to have shot Ms. Roberts in the back of the head with the intention of stealing Roberts’ 3-week-old child to pass off as her own. Goins had told her ex that she was pregnant and when he found out that she wasn’t she supposedly came up with this plan. She even allegedly tried telling police that she shot an intruder.

Let’s stop here for a moment. In the history of forever has this plan ever worked? It seems like whenever some crazy woman claims to be pregnant and tries to steal a baby, often times from the mother’s womb, that they’re always caught. It boggles my mind just thinking how selfish a person must be to go to such great lengths for attention no matter the consequences.

In a recent hearing prosecutors said that Roberts had responded to a craigslist ad for children’s clothes that Goins had posted. If this sounds familiar it’s because craigslist has been used before to lure unsuspecting mothers into violent situations. In 2009 Korena Roberts of Oregon murdered a pregnant Heather Snively and cut the baby from her womb. More recently Dynel Lane of Colorado stabbed Michelle Wilkins and cut her baby from her womb. Ms. Wilkins survived but her baby did not. Both suspects in these cases lured their victims through craigslist ads for baby clothes.

Something as innocuous as baby clothes have led to at least three deaths through craigslist. That should serve as a warning to how unsafe craigslist truly is.

UPDATE 5/28/2016: Earlier this month Goins pleaded guilty to the murder of Natalia Roberts. She was sentenced to life without parole.