Saturday, November 8, 2008

Craiglist Scammers Busted At Borders

A couple who scammed prospective renters out of their deposits was arrested during a sting operation Tuesday at Borders Books in downtown Glendale.

Coincidentally, I happened to be walking by Borders at exactly that moment. I saw a number of normally dressed people looking intently at one man, and thought I might be about to witness a fight. I saw one man lift up the back of his shirt and pull out a pair of handcuffs, and then I realized I was actually surrounded by plainclothes police officers, who handcuffed and patted down the man they had surrounded.

At that moment, a Mustang drove by on Broadway and was pursued by a Glendale PD Charger which turned on its siren and raced across Brand. The Mustang pulled over on Broadway and two of the plainclothes officers who were in front of Borders sprinted through the crowd at the bus stop and past me towards the stopped Mustang. At the time, I had no idea what was going on and just kept moving because I wanted to stay out of the way of the police officers during an ongoing situation.

From the Police Department press release:

On October 27th, 2008, detectives from the Glendale Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit received a report of a fraudulent listing, advertising an apartment for rent in the City of Glendale. A victim reported that they responded to the listing and arranged to meet with the couple purporting to be the owners of the unit. They met with the suspects and provided a completed lease application provided by the suspects and a cash deposit for the apartment unit. The victim later learned that the suspects were not the owners of the unit being rented, and contacted the Glendale Police Department to have the incident investigated.

As the investigation progressed, additional victims were located and all related similar accounts of how the scam was being committed. Victims responded to the online ad, were contacted by the suspects, and then met them at a variety of local establishments where they provided them with money and a lease application containing a wealth of personal information.

Detectives from the Glendale Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit were able to establish contact with the suspects under the guise of being interested in renting the unit. On November 4th, 2008, detectives met with the male suspect at a local bookstore where money and a lease application were provided to the suspect. He and his female counterpart were arrested shortly thereafter. The suspects were booked on fraud related charges.

Detectives of the Glendale Police Department believe that there may be additional victims who have yet to report their dealings with these suspects. If you have any further information regarding this crime, please contact Detective Jason Ross or Sergeant Brian Cohen at 818-548-3101.
More info in the Glendale News-Press here.

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