Lavunte Collins used Craigslist to lure his victims with the promise of cheap iPhones. When they arrived at their deated meeting points in Stone Mountain, Ga. The year-old was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims. The robberies in an outer suburb of Atlanta — and other violent Craigslist-related crimes across the United States, including multiple slayings — have sparked wariness among some Internet bargain hunters and given police department parking lots a second life as a place to buy stuff from strangers.
To avoid becoming a victim of these crimes, we urge members of the public to arrange meetings with online vendors in public places, such as local police departments. After Craigslist crimes, police across U. Instead, prosecutors say, they encountered Collins, holding a gun and demanding money. One man escaped by slipping out of his shirt and sprinting away, according to court documents.
Collins was far from the only person to look at the near-anonymity of Craigslist with criminal intent. Last May, police in Missouri charged a year-old man in the killing of a teen who was trying to buy a Nissan ZX through a Craigslist ad. Taylor Clark, a student at Southern Illinois University, had arranged to meet Michael Gordon to test-drive his red sports car, police said.
The next day, police found his body hidden nearby with gunshot wounds. In February, Debvon Buckner, 24, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty to robbery after prosecutors said he lured people to isolated sites with bogus offers to buy Xboxes and a Hyundai Sonata, according to the U. In one case, Buckner walked away saying he had to talk to his wife about selling their Sonata.
When he was out of sight, two men emerged from the shadows, holding guns. As the victims attempted to flee, they were shot and injured. A robbery crew from Oakland, Calif. Crew members posed as music producers looking to buy diamond engagement rings or Rolex watches. They persuaded their victims to go to the San Francisco Bay area — sometimes even paying for airfare and picking victims up in a limousine, according to the U.
Instead of meeting them at a jewelry store or a bank, though, they met at a predetermined location and used guns and physical violence to rob them.
Officials from Craigslist did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Vanishingly few of these are craigslist-related. Still, as Peter Holley wrote in The Washington Post last year : Violent crimes that begin with an exchange between strangers on Craigslist have sent law enforcement officials searching for solutions.
People come with the money, and they rob them. In Hartford, Conn.
Well-lit and under constant surveillance, the lot will be open to the public for Craigslist transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operation Safe Lot came about after Hartford police officials noticed similar plans had proved successful in other cities, Deputy Chief Brian Foley told the Courant.
When his son sold a car on Craigslist in Manchester, Md. Peter Zollman, whose classified-ad consulting firm tracks crimes linked to Craigslist, told the AP early last year that his firm located news reports for more than 20 killings related to the site in At the time, a Craigslist spokesman suggested that the s were negligible considering the massive of transactions that occur without incident. Mark Warr, a criminologist and sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, made a similar point, telling the AP that the frequency of crime does not warrant the level of fear associated with it.
One particularly troubling case made headlines last year.
Towns was charged with armed robbery and murder while members of the Runion family were left with heartache and anger. Prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty for Towns, the district attorney told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. :. She loved the river. This attorney wore a Black Lives Matter pin to court — and went to jail for it.
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in ProfileSolid. By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. August 9, Share this story.
Wp Get the full experience. Choose your plan ArrowRight. Story continues below advertisement. As Holley wrote:. For a growing of U. The goal, police around the country say, is to create public space for legitimate transactions to take place, often under the watchful eye of authorities. ZIP: 30083