There was a time when if you wanted to get a nice cheap car, Craigslist was the place to go. You can still find good values on CL, but you need to be careful out there. Police say Atlanta area gang members were setting up fake Craigslist ads for cars that didn't exist, in order to lure people and rob them.
Atlanta radio station wsbradio.com, reports that police have arrested seven suspects, four women and three men, who were allegedly involved in a series of armed robberies that targeted car buyers from Craigslist. The suspects are accused of robbing 15 victims and stealing more than $20,000 worth of cash and personal items. The individuals are said to be members of the "Billy Bad Ass" and "9 Trey" local gangs that have a loose affiliation with the famous "Bloods."
Police say the suspects would copy pictures of real vehicles from dealership websites and post them to their fake Craigslist ad. The suspects would be sure to advertise an unusually low price for the car in order to tempt would-be buyers. Atlanta Police say that gangs are using the internet to find new opportunities for crime.
"We see that a lot of gangs are looking at something that would be considered a very easy out, something quick cash, they can get rid of very quickly, and very difficult to solve for the case...So we saw that the Craiglist was very big. It's an easy way to get people from outside the city of Atlanta that would not be able to identify them." - APD Investigator C. Kettel
The first incident happened in June 2014. When two more were reported in early July, and all of the crimes took place in one square city block of southwest Atlanta, police started to notice a pattern. The robberies continued up through December and authorities say that the gang members were not afraid to get violent. One victim was struck with a weapon and another was shot at when she became suspicious and drove off, cops say.
Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Tolleson says that potential car buyers who are looking to purchase via Craigslist meet in well-lit, public places, with cameras. He even suggests handling the transaction at your local police station.