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 a Temecula man allegedly pulled out a gun and demanded money, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
The alleged crime happened around 6 p.m. Monday, July 29 on the 10400 block of Reserve Drive in 4S Ranch, an unincorporated suburb of San Diego near Rancho Bernardo. Two suspects were booked into jail on related charges last week, prompting officials to urge would-be buyers to be cautious.
The suspects were identified as 19‐year‐old Notriga Mandegar of Temecula and 18‐year‐old David Belcher of San Diego. The young men did not get any cash from the victim before running away, Lt. Mario Zermeno said, adding that it is Mandegar who is believed to have pulled the gun. A subsequent investigation led detectives to the men.
On Thursday afternoon, Belcher was still listed as being in San Diego County jail on a robbery charge with bail set at $50,000.
The San Diego County 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.