33-year-old April Vancleave of Arlington, Texas, was shot and killed around Christmastime last year after trying to sell some items on classifieds app 5miles. She was trying to make enough money to buy her 6-year-old daughter a Christmas present. This was an unusual story because Ms. Vancleave did everything right when going to meet the purported buyers. She met them during the day, at a Target store and brought her husband with her. When the sellers didn’t show, her husband dropped her off back at home and he went back to work. Two men had followed her from Target and robbed her before shooting and killing her.
Back in February, police arrested 33-year-old Mario Hernan Lopez Gamez. Recently, the second suspect in Ms. Vancleave’s murder was arrested. Today, U.S. Marshals arrested a man going by the name of Alex Menor Diaz, who they believe is Gamez’s alleged accomplice. He was brought to the attention of authorities by Ms. Vancleave’s family after going through Gamez’s Facebook friends list. Diaz may be using an alias and investigators are still trying to determine his true identity. He is currently being held on $1 million bond.
While this story is a rare type of craigslist-like killing, it does show how dangerous it can be to do business with online strangers in real life. Again, while no plan is absolutely perfect, the best option when making these type of transactions is to do them at your local police station.
33-year-old April Vancleave of Arlington, Texas, was shot and killed near her home after trying to sell some items on a craigslist-like app. April was trying to sell some jewelry through an app called 5miles, in order to make some money so she could buy a Christmas present for her 6-year-old daughter. Ms. Vancleave even did all the right things that one should do when selling an item online through a classifieds app or site.
When she went to meet the buyer in public no one showed up to meet with her, so her husband dropped her off at home and he returned to work. Police say that two men followed her to her apartment complex, robbed her, and shot her. The suspects are still at large and a $10,000 reward is being issued for information leading to their capture.
Here is surveillance video from the Arlington Police.
Anyone who recognizes the men seen in the video or has information about the incident that left Vancleave dead is asked to contact Arlington police at 817-459-5735.
Anonymous tips can also be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8477.
This is not an indictment against 5miles. It seems like a decent app with user profiles, which is more than craigslist can say however, as this story shows, you can take all the necessary precautions when dealing with online classifieds and still risk being the victim of a crime. While this story is a rare case, it still speaks volumes as to the dangers adherent when dealing with strangers and money online.
I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.