Craigslist sale turns into armed carjacking

PALMDALE – A Palmdale man who offered his vehicle for sale on Craigslist was carjacked at gunpoint Tuesday by a man posing as a buyer, authorities said.

The victim’s certificate of title was also stolen; and now detectives suspect the thief will try to palm off the stolen car on an innocent buyer, according to a press release from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. Read it below:

The suspect first contacted the victim in response to the Craigslist ad approximately five days prior. After a test drive, the suspect asked if the victim had the certificate of title (pink slip). When the victim said he did not, but could get it, the suspect told the victim he would return when he had the pink slip.

On Tuesday [Feb. 18], the suspect showed up at the victim’s home unannounced. The suspect confirmed the victim had the pink slip and asked for another test drive. After a short drive, the suspect stopped the car, pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded the victim’s cell phone and certificate of title.

Fearing for his life, the victim relinquished the items. The suspect then ordered the victim from the vehicle, telling him he would return and kill him if he notified police.

Since the suspect will not be able to register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles, it is suspected that he intends to use the certificate of title to sell it to an innocent party, unaware of the theft.

The vehicle is described as a gold, 2010 Toyota Corolla with a Los Angeles Lakers license plate frame, 18” black rims, and California license plate #6SJN245.

The suspect is described as a male Hispanic, about 25 years old, 5’08”, 200 pounds, with brown hair and unknown eye color. He was wearing a black shirt, denim pants, and black, white, and red Air Jordan shoes. He was also wearing glasses with yellow frames.

If the vehicle or suspect is seen, call your local police agency.

Citizens are reminded to use extreme caution when buying or selling vehicles through on-line sources. Sellers must be cautious about inviting “buyers” to their home, and buyers must be cautious about meeting “sellers” with large sums of money.

Agreeing to only meet the other party in the parking lot of your local police station may help weed out potential criminals. If the other party has any reason to avoid that venue, one should wonder why. However, your local police agency may not be able to guarantee that a vehicle is not stolen.

This is because expert car thieves can change the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) in a manner that is nearly undetectable to people, other than specially-trained investigators.

If there is any question, the California Highway Patrol can be contacted for VIN verification services.