Appointment for Crime

The things you should know before answering an ad


Several crimes around San Diego County have prompted a warning for people using the online classified website Craigslist. Police are calling it, “an appointment for a crime.”

Maria, who did not want to use her last name, is happy to have her car back a few days after it was stolen right in front of her.

"He just took off with the car." Maria said.

The thief had come to the house to look at the car listed for sale on Craigslist San Diego.

"This is something that we're seeing across the country," said FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth.

He warns people using the online classified website to always get information from the buyer or seller ahead of time, don't bring people to your home and instead try to meet in a public place.

"But whatever you do, don't go inside their residence because you could be opening yourself up to a whole host of problems," he warns.

Similar stories have surfaced around the nation. In Chicago police say Dwayne Williams, 20, would place ads for TV’s, lure people to abandoned houses and then rob them. In Missouri, a woman's house was burglarized after she placed an ad for items for sale on Craigslist.  But probably the most serious case happened last April in Washington State.  James Sanders was shot and killed at home in front of his wife and kids by a group of people responding to an ad about a diamond ring for sale.

Agent Foxworth recommends never bringing cash with you the first time to look at an item and to scout out a neighborhood before meeting a stranger.

As for Maria's car, police got an anonymous tip on where to find it.  They've identified the suspect as 27-year-old Derek Williams. Police say Williams used his real cell phone number when initially inquiring about the car for sale.

"Police did a very good job and I'm really glad," said Maria who hopes other people learn from what happened to her and get as much information ahead of time as possible.

"Ask them about their driver's license," she said. "And ask them who is the person who is driving the car."

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