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.

Topeka murder was over terms of lease

Topeka murder was over terms of lease
Anthony Darcy

I previously posted about the murder of Stephen Snyder in Topeka, Kansas, here. At the time I wondered if it was yet another craigslist killing since Snyder bought the house from his alleged killer on craigslist. While the purchase of the house through craigslist has been confirmed, craigslist had nothing to do with the murder.

Recently, an affidavit was made public that detailed what police believe to be the actual motive behind the murder. Mr. Snyder did indeed buy the house 81-year-old Anthony Darcy was living in. Mr. Snyder allowed Darcy to live in the house for two weeks providing Snyder could come to the house when he wanted in order to make preparations for moving in.

On the day before the sale, Darcy presented a lease without the language allowing the buyers to visit the house. The buyers didn’t sign that lease, and Darcy, who wasn’t “happy about them wanting to paint some rooms in the house,” indicated he might back out of the deal, the affidavit said.

But during the sale, Darcy “had not complained” about the buyers visiting the house, the affidavit said.

On the day of the shooting, Snyder approached the house with his 8-year-old son when Darcy is said to have opened fire on Snyder. Darcy was said to have called 911 and told dispatchers he shot Snyder because “he was tired of his (expletive).” Darcy then reportedly placed the gun on the kitchen counter and waited for police.

Even I’m a little shocked at the callousness of Mr. Snyder’s murder. Not only did Darcy murder a man over something so petty as being annoyed over a house visit, but he did it in front of Mr. Snyder’s 8-year-old son, putting the child in potential danger as well. Some may say the prosecution should go easy on Darcy since he’s an 81-year-old man with no criminal record. I disagree. While he may have waited late in life to commit a crime, he committed one of the most heinous crimes one can commit. Because of that he deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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”

Va. teen murdered after trying to buy phone on LetGo

Va. teen murdered after trying to buy phone on LetGo

16-year-old Jamaa Khalik Scott of Richmond, Virginia, was shot and killed outside of a middle school after he went to meet someone who he thought he would be buying an iPhone from. Scott found the phone on the classifieds app LetGo. One witness and friend of Scott said Scott allegedly couldn’t afford the phone and planned on grabbing the phone and running. When the seller showed up, a struggle ensued, resulting in Scott being shot. The gunman was said to have picked up something off the ground before fleeing the scene. While the killing took place in Mid-April there still have been no arrests. Henrico County Police have asked LetGo for their help in finding the killer.

While there may be no good guys in this story, I have to add stealing a smart phone is not exactly a perfect crime. There are a multitude of ways smart phones can be tracked, and more than likely I doubt your average thief can think of all of them. The number of stories where cell phone thieves are caught are numerous and varied and usually end up in jail time for the thief. So the next time you think about stealing that phone, ask yourself if it’s worth the jail time, or in this case, the funeral.

Possible craigslist murder in Topeka

Possible craigslist murder in Topeka
Anthony Darcy

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues. Nothing salacious, just having a serious bout of depression that I’ll get into at some other date. What caused me to start posting again is that there has been a possible craigslist murder in my new hometown of Capital City, otherwise known as Topeka, Kansas.

On Monday, 81-year-old Anthony Darcy allegedly shot and killed 36-year-old Stephen Snyder. Darcy has no criminal history but is being held on $1 million bond. Topeka has been reeling after a number of shooting homicides have been committed in the city recently. While it’s nowhere near the level of a city like Chicago, the 11 murders that have happened so far this year have been a concern for both police and residents.

Just a little bit more than an hour ago, I was watching the 10:00 PM news broadcast from local station KSNT. While this hasn’t been posted on their website yet, or any other local news site for that matter, they reported Darcy had just sold a house to Snyder on craigslist the other day. Unless I misheard the newscast, Darcy allegedly entered the home and shot Snyder. So far no motive has been discussed. I’ve sent a request to KSNT to make sure I heard correctly but so far I have not received a reply.

While it may not be a ‘craigslist killing’ in the classical sense, I find it suspicious a craigslist transaction happened between the two before one of them was killed. I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.

UPDATE 5/4/2017: Yesterday, Darcy was officially charged with first-degree murder and endangerment of a child since there was an 8-year-old present at the time of the shooting.

KSNT tried to get back to me regarding the involvement of craigslist but somewhere along the line our wires got crossed so I still can’t confirm that.

Craigslist vigilante accused of killing an innocent man

Craigslist vigilante accused of killing an innocent man
William Knight

The media loves to publish stories about people who found their stolen possessions on craigslist and confronted the person who stole them. I always thought that this was irresponsible of the media as I knew it would eventually lead to something like this.

63-year-old William Knight, of Akron, Ohio, is said to have found his son-in-law’s stolen dirt bike, worth $4000, being sold on craigslist. The bike had been stolen a year earlier. Knight and his family reported the ad to police who said they would go with Knight to approach the seller. Police then had to respond to another call, but Knight and his family went anyway.

Knight is said to have shot and killed 24-year-old Keith Johnson who was selling the bike. Knight claims the shooting was in self-defense, but reports make it sound like that Johnson was fleeing the scene rather than attacking Knight.

“I had to,” Knight said, alleging that Johnson had tried to flee and that he could have hurt his family members.

Knight told dispatchers his son-in-law tried to hold on to the bike to prevent Johnson from riding away. He said he fired his gun to protect his family and himself, and that he thought he hit Johnson in the chest.

Johnson was not the man who had stolen the bike. Relatives say that Johnson had bought the bike from someone else last year. Knight has only been charged with involuntary manslaughter which has set off tensions in Akron since Knight is white and Johnson is black. While I can’t say that the charges are based on race, I will say I think the charge of involuntary manslaughter is not enough and Knight should be charged with second-degree murder.

If you find something of yours that has been stolen appearing on a site like craigslist, do not approach the seller on your own. Call the police and wait for them to go with you. Taking the law into your own hands could result in lethal consequences, for you or any one else involved.
Continue reading “Craigslist vigilante accused of killing an innocent man”

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.

Tampa craigslist killing leaves father dead, two arrested

Williams and Johnson

44-year-old James Beck, of Tampa, Florida, was killed this past Tuesday after trying to sell his 16-year-old son’s dirt bike on craigslist. Beck and his son met a pair of individuals when one of them opened fire on Beck, striking him twice in the neck. The two suspects then ran off with the dirt bike. Beck unfortunately died on the scene from his injuries right in front of his son.

Police have arrested 16-year-old Ramontrae Williams and 17-year-old Dontae Johnson, and charged them with first-degree felony murder and robbery.

A GoFundMe has been set up by Beck’s family in order to pay for funeral and other expenses.

Sadly, I don’t have much else to add here. Craigslist should be considered too dangerous for anyone to use anymore. While you, the reader, may have found the perfect deal on craigslist, and have never had a problem, the number of people killed through craigslist is now in the triple digits. Craigslist has become nothing more than a dangerous game of Russian Roulette, and too many people are becoming victims to a deadly game that they don’t even realize they’re playing.

UPDATE 2/27/2017: Last week a grand jury indicted both teens, and they will be tried as adults.

UPDATE 3/2/2017: Williams has been denied bond.

Texas mother murdered after using classifieds app, even after doing all the right things

Texas mother murdered after using classifieds app, even after doing all the right things
April Vancleave

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.

April’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her funeral expenses.

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.

(Thanks to Lady Gray for the editorial assist.)

UPDATE 2/13/2017: 33-year-old Mario Hernan Lopez Gamez has been arrested in April Vancleave’s death. The second suspect is still at large.

Police were able to identify Gamez after another victim said that he had robbed her through another app called OfferUp. Gamez is looking at capital murder charges.