The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is warning of a new twist on the old "snatch and grab" scam. People selling items on Craigslist are falling victim to the scam that local detectives are seeing more and more.
Seventeen-year-old Austin Hall was arrested and charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Detectives say he ripped off two people who were trying to sell paintball guns through Craigslist.
Detective Theresa Newman says she at first couldn't believe how Hall learned the scam. Newman says Hall was a victim himself and decided the con was pretty good.
"Oddly enough the individual who committed the theft on the two paintball gun theft cases was a victim of selling his phone on Craigslist, got his phone stolen from him, and thought that was quote a pretty cool thing to do," Newman said.
Kaleb Williams was selling the paintball guns. He says his was worth $1,400. Williams set up a meeting with who he thought was a potential buyer, but at the last minute, they said they didn't have a ride and needed Williams to come to their house in Brandon. So, he did.
"He asked me if he could take the gun upstairs and show his brother and I said I don't know you. You can't take my gun upstairs. I said I'll walk with you," Williams explained. "The next thing you know, he's jumping over the fence and running, so I chase after him. And there was somebody actually at the front of the neighborhood waiting in a car for him."
Thieves posing as buyers meet the unsuspecting seller. They ask to hold the item for sale. Then, they take it and run.
The sheriff's office is still looking for at least one more suspect, who also struck in Brandon.
Their best advice: If you're going to use Craigslist, meet during the day or somewhere where there a lot of people around.
Investigators were able to track down Williams' paintball gun back with its serial number.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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