A man trying to buy a cell phone he saw in an ad on Craigslist instead found himself fleeing to a nearby sheriff's station after one of the sellers pulled out a gun and demanded money, according to a San Diego County Sheriff's Department news release.
The alleged crime happened around 6 p.m. Monday, July 29 on the 10400 block of Reserve Drive in 4S Ranch. Two suspects were booked into jail on related charges last week, prompting officials to urge would-be buyers to be cautious.
The news release did not specify whether the suspects—identified as 19‐year‐old Notriga Mandegar and 18‐year‐old David Belcher—took any cash from the victim before running away. A subsequent investigation led detectives to the suspects. On Thursday afternoon, Belcher was still listed as being in jail on a robbery charge with bail set at $50,000.
The Sheriff's Department offered the following tips for handling Craigslist deals:
- Set up appointments during the day.
- Insist on a public meeting place—Criminals don’t want witnesses; they are not likely to rob you in a location full of people.
- Don't go alone—consider having a friend accompany you.
- Tell a friend or family where you're going.
- Take your cell phone along so you can call 911 if necessary.
- Don't travel with large amounts of cash.
- Don't buy from sellers who only list an email address—this is a red flag the seller has something to hide.
- Never go to a second location—if you arrived at a meeting place and the seller asks to go to another place, this should raise some serious red flags.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—you are better off passing it up.
- Trust your gut—always follow your instincts. If anything seems suspicious, out of place or doesn't feel right; if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave.