Tag Archive | "craigslist"

Couple Set Up Craigslist Sting on a Mott Haven Street

A Staten Island couple set up their own sting operation in Mott Haven on Wednesday night by posing as customers interested in remote control cars they saw on Craigslist. The rare cars they tried to buy had been  stolen from them the previous week.

Lugo's custom remote control Baja 5Bs are back at his home in Staten Island after he found his stolen property for sale on craigslist.

Custom-made remote control Baja 5B cars are back in Lugo’s Staten Island collection.

Christian Lugo, a granite and marble installer, saw the posting on the website and arranged to meet the seller on Third Avenue to exchange $1,200 for the two custom-built hobby cars. Lugo and his wife Tabitha feigned interest in one of the rare model Baja 5B for just a moment before pulling out the remote controls that correspond with the car.

“This is my car,” Lugo said three times to the would-be seller. Tabitha then texted the police, whom the couple had alerted in advance. Officers who were waiting nearby then escorted the seller to his Bronx apartment to retrieve the second car. The young man claimed to have bought the cars from a drug addict for $150 and said he did not know the hobby cars were stolen.

“I am disappointed that I lost the money I spent on buying them to not get anything for it,” said the seller in a text message. He declined to give his name. “I knew the value so I wanted to resell them.” The Lugos did not press charges and were just happy to have the cars back. The young man was released without charges. “He spoke politely,” Tabitha said. “I told him, ‘But you are in possession of stolen property.’”

The Lugos have put a lot of custom work into the aluminum cars, which Tabitha claimed were worth about $3,000 each. The remote control Baja 5Bs are one-fifth the size of a real car and sell for $1,600 on the RC Superstores website. Lugo is an avid collector and builder of remote control cars and Craigslist is a go-to site for buying, selling and trading parts.Lugo estimates he has anywhere from 40 to 50 remote control cars on top of the hobby planes and boats he collects.

Two weeks ago, Lugo left the two Baja 5Bs at the Staten Island home of a friend, also a collector. Two days later the friend said the cars  had gone missing, but not the remote controls.  While searching Craigslist the following week, Lugo spotted his Bajas for sale. “He was ready at 8 o’clock last night to run over here and get the cars,” Tabitha said in Mott Haven, after they had retrieved their property. The couple had called the phone number posted on Craigslist and made an offer, setting a meeting place near the 40th police precinct on Third Avenue and 138 St. The Lugos alerted police of their plan. “I’m not from around here,” Lugo said. “I didn’t know if he had a gun.” The seller was unarmed and appeared to be about 18 years old.

Selling stolen property on Craigslist is against the company’s policies, although doing so is difficult to detect and impossible to prevent. Selling stolen property is prevalent enough that the Internet stolen property database site, stolen911.com, has a special page through which victims of theft can search for their property on Craigslist.

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