Lafayette police are searching for two men, at least one of them believed to be armed, who allegedly beat and robbed a man outside his home during an aborted attempt at an online auto sale Friday morning.
A Rolex watch and cell phone were believed taken during the incident, which occurred at about 10:30 a.m. in the 3400 block of Moraga Boulevard.
The suspected robbers, described preliminarily as two black males with one in a white shirt, escaped in a white Volkswagen Passat and were last seen driving in the direction of downtown Lafayette from Moraga Boulevard.
Officers determined that the resident had posted a vehicle for sale on an on-line classified ad website. The resident received a call from an unknown person who wanted to see the vehicle. The resident provided their home address to the caller and the pair agreed to a meeting time. When the prospective buyer arrived in the neighborhood, they claimed they could not find the home and agreed to meet at a local business. The resident was met by two subjects who represented themselves as interested buyers of the vehicle. The group then returned to the home of the resident on Moraga Boulevard, according to police.
When they arrived at the home, the resident and one of the buyers went into the garage to retrieve some parts for the vehicle and, once there, the buyer produced a firearm and demanded the seller get down on the ground. The resident did as instructed. The suspect then demanded his personal property. The seller removed his watch, telephone and a necklace, which was taken by the suspect. The suspect then struck the resident with the firearm in the head.
Police said the suspect returned to the vehicle they had arrived, believed to be similar to a white Volkswagen Passat, and fled the area. The seller sought assistance from a neighbor, who called the police. LPD Officers arrived in the neighborhood, but were unable to locate the suspects or their vehicle.
LPD Investigators and CSI personnel responded to the scene and processed the area for evidence and were able to collect several items of evidence from the scene. Investigators are asking neighbors in the area to check their home security systems for any images of the suspects or their vehicle. Investigators are seeking any images that may be of the suspect vehicle as it moved through the neighborhood. Investigators ask neighbors who locate images of the suspects or their vehicle contact our police dispatch center at (925) 284-5010.
Was the victim badly injured?
Thanks for the alert. Hope the person is ok. wow.
How scary. I hope the victim is OK.
@Janet – Scary… yes. We believe relatively minor wound to the head.
Hopefully the cameras got a picture of the car and license plate.
@Robert – We’ll definitely post them if they are made public.
You all know that I’m going to say:
I bet they were out on parole!
If you’re going to sell something online, your meeting point should be the parking lot of your local police station.
@Tom – Totally agree and some of our local departments have designated zones for these sorts of transactions but this particular sale may not have been suited for such a deal, sorry to say.
Let’s hope someone comes forward with better photos… 2 black guys in a small white car around mid-morning and possibly headed towards the freeway from Moraga Boulevard
I hope he’s okay too. I understand “parking lot of your local police station” but the police have better things to do than entertain ******list junkies.
Doing business with ******list isn’t worth it. How many stories do we have to see on the news to convince people that this site is full of scam artists? Sale after sale after sale. Come on. Wise up.
People advertise on this site because it’s FREE. Maybe it’s time to realize that advertising costs money, and if you’re too cheap to realize this and take the necessary precautions – well.
Do business with this site at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. The truth hurts.
If law enforcement (that I have a lot of respect for) really wants to get involved – shut this site down. We’d all be better off.
Next time I’ll tell you how I really feel.
Hopefully they’ll get better pictures. That had to be pretty scary.
I don’t believe the police have to “entertain” those who are in their parking lot. The two parties simply meet in the police station parking lot to conduct their transaction. Police involvement is not required, unless a crime occurs, and the police would have to get involved if a crime occurred whether it happens in one’s driveway, in the Safeway parking lot, or the parking lot of the police station. So, I see no additional work for the police.
The reality is that you are less likely to be pistol whipped by a criminal in the parking lot of your local police station. And, really, in the long run, if people undertook this basic safety precaution, the police would probably have fewer crimes to investigate.
It’s unlikely people will stop using free classifieds, so we need a real world, practical solution for those who do. (Personally, I would never sell anything in a paid classified or a free classified.)
I think it’s “wonderful” that the police are willing to “protect and to serve” but if you have to “conduct business at the police station” – isn’t that a red flag?
Trade your car in at the dealership, hold onto the Rolex, and not get pistol whipped. That’s just me.
I friend of mine – her husband is recently retired LEO. SWAT commander, or something like that. I asked him what he thought of “safe havens” at the station, and he told me his department didn’t offer it. “Flea markets at the station” came into the conversation. Jeff is really cut out to be a cop.
Do you really think the police want “flea markets” going on down at the station? I believe they’re extremely annoyed by it. He left me with the impression that they are.
I agree that people will never stop using free classifieds. The risks outweigh the benefits, and I would feel that way if I was very poor. You can get a better deal – Memorial Day or Labor Day sale (brand new 40 – 70% off) than dealing with flakes, scammers and low ballers. And that’s what you’ll find on these sites. A lot of people feel these sites should be shut down. It’s not just me.
As far as “less likely to get pistol whipped at the station.” Please keep in mind that the ones that will pistol whip you aren’t agreeing to show up at the station. The ones at the station are the ones that you could probably trust at your home (honest folks meeting honest folks) so it might “comfort you” but it won’t stop crime. The crime will happen just like this crime did. Criminals meeting up with people who don’t “get it,” and getting victimized.
Off to a ballgame… very safe afternoon.
At Danelle and baseball – I got beaned at a game once. Had the lump for a week!
I hate to say that I do not believe there is any totally safe place these days. It is best to exercise your own personal cautions and stay aware. I can see how thieves would like the online sale forum as it affords them anonymity and the virtual assurance that the buyer or seller has something they want or might be carrying a large sum of money. I’m glad the man in Lafaayette is ok and healing.
I just sold a car on craigslist in March and don’t think I would ever do it again. I was so afraid that something like this might happen to me if I wasn’t careful. It must have taken me three weeks to sell because I was very selective about who I showed it to. It wouldn’t surprise me if these people contacted me as well but I just didn’t feel comfortable showing it to them. I feel so bad for this man.
@Danielle I’m not sure a paid ad would make any difference as there is still no cost to the pretend buyer. I’m sure these people pull this on the paid sites as well. The reason people don’t want to trade in their car is because the can sell it themselves for at least $1000 more than what they will get if they trade it in. I understand there are lots that will sell a car for you for around $400. That’s the route I will probably take next time around.
Really hope they catch these creeps.
Tim – haha.
Pamela – I agree with you that paid ads probably won’t make a difference ( I like Tom – don’t use either) but with paid ads, at least people are serious. The seller anyway. If it’s free, there’s a line. I’m well aware why people don’t trade in their cars, but everything is negotiable. My husband and I are very skilled at the art of getting a good deal ($100 over invoice – a lot of referrals). They don’t make a dime off us, but they’re probably making money off friends and family, depending on “their skills.” I have more fun getting a “good deal” by myself.
Unregulated business are causing more problems that what they’re worth (to society) and I hope and pray people will stop using them. The good news – most people stay away from Airbnb, Uber, Craigslist, etc. It’s common sense and good judgment.
License plate readers? Reverse look up from CallerID? Gotta be a way to get these guys.
@Chris – One would hope. We do. But “man finding” can be difficult… even if Tommy Lee Jones makes it look otherwise.
Almost forgot the most important tip of buying a new car (a lot of people might already know).
Don’t let them know you’re trading in a car until after you’ve negotiated a deal on the new one. Beat them at their own game. Car dealerships do make their money on trade ins. Know what your trade in is worth, and wear them down! Salesman want to go home.
Build rapport at a dealership (and stick with it). If you’re well-liked, you’ll get a much better deal (anywhere). People are human. So easy…