Crimestoppers: Craigslist crooks caught on tape

By: Paul Cameron

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)--You can buy just about anything on Craigslist Charlotte, from cars, to bikes, clothing, or furniture -- it's the online version of a yard sale.

And most of the transactions go off without a hitch.

But on my weekly Crimestoppers report, we found one crook who got very creative and very bold when he wanted to buy an iPhone.

When you got to Craigslist on your computer, you see the warning in red letters, not to fall for scams or fraud—to make sure to deal locally.

A Charlotte man thought he was taking all the safety precautions when he put his used iPhone up for sale.

"A guy had shown some interest in the iPhone he was selling," says CMPD Detective Wende Kerl, "he and his uncle came to the Harris Teeter, met inside in the florist section, a well lit area with lots of people."

They two men chatted about the phone.  The buyer asked if the charger worked.  When the seller plugged the charger in the wall, the buyer turned thief, grabbing the phone and making a run for it.  Fortunately, there are surveillance pictures of the crime.

"The victim started to chase him and the victim's uncle stood outside and covered both the exits," says Detective Kerl.  "I think the victim was very close on his heels."

And that's when something very odd happened.

"When the suspect came out of the door," says Kerl, "he and the uncle collided, and in the process when they collided, the suspect dropped an LG phone."

After dropping the LG phone, the crook ran to a nearby apartment complex and disappeared, leaving the seller something he wasn't expecting.

Detective Kerl says, "they got the LG phone as evidence, but not the iPhone."

What police do have are the suspect's fingerprints.