Armed robbers using Craigslist to target used car buyers 

Bayview police are warning of recent Craigslist-related armed robberies by suspects in Halloween masks that have left prospective used car buyers terrified and out thousands in cash.

The first robbery took place May 12 in the Bayview district, the second May 25 in the nearby Portola district, according to police.

On May 12, two San Jose residents drove to The City after one responded to a Craigslist ad, and agreed by email to buy a used Honda Accord for $4,500, police said. They were instructed to drive to the unit block of Ignacio Avenue, a dead end street near Candlestick Park.

When they arrived, they found the house number given by the sellers did not exist, and their car was surrounded by two men in black hoodies with semiautomatic handguns, one wearing a werewolf mask and the other a “Scream” mask. The victims were robbed of all the cash and their cell phones.

Though neither victim was injured, police said they were “extremely shaken by the incident.”

Then last Wednesday, a Fresno resident agreed to buy a used Honda Civic he had seen on Craigslist for $6,500, and was directed by a phone caller to go to the 700 block of University Street, according to police. When the man arrived with another man and woman, they were robbed of the cash, their cell phones and an iPod by two men with handguns wearing “Scream” masks and another knife-wielding man wearing a monkey mask.

Several residents witnessed the robbery, and one of the stolen cell phones was later recovered underneath a parked car, “where it had apparently been ditched,” police said, in the 1700 block of Sunnydale Avenue in Visitacion Valley.

One of the robbers also dropped an article of clothing at the robbery scene, police said.
No arrests were made.

Similar robberies were reported late last year in Oakland.

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Ari Burack

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