Pair robbed after answering Craigslist car ad in Severn

If you were 17 years old, like Robin Ayala, looking to buy your first car, the ad offering a bargain-priced, sporty coupe would be hard to resist.
 
"It was a 2005 Honda Accord.  On the title it said 89,000 miles... $3,500," recalled Robin as he described the offer.
 
Normally, such a car may cost you double that amount, so naturally, Ayala convinced his father to go with him to Graybird Court in Severn one night this week to check it out, but the seller claimed his work at a nearby army base was running him late.
 
"He told me he was a police officer working around base.  That's why he was getting out late.  He had paper work to give to his sergeant.  That's why he was late," Ayala said.
 
Through texts and phone calls, the supposed seller told Ayala he was sending his cousin over to show them the car.
 
When the accomplice showed up, he led them to another house a few blocks away and then to a secluded area at the end of Robin Court where they quickly realized that they had been sold a bad bill of goods.
 
"All I saw was the gun pointed at us and I froze,” said Ayala. “Since I had my phone in my hand, I'm pretty sure he wanted money, so I gave him my phone because it was in my hand.  I was scared.  I was willing to do anything to get out of there alive."
 
In addition to the phone, the robber took the victims' money---not the $3,500 he may have expected, which would have been the price of the car, but just $36 the two men had between them in their wallets.
 
Police say it's a relatively cheap lesson that may help others avoid similar scams.
 
"Research the seller.  Contact them constantly.  Put the transaction on your terms.  If they don't feel easy going where you want to go, it's probably too good to be true," said Justin Mulcahy of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. 
 
Police also say you should never go alone and choose very public places with lots of traffic, good lighting and plenty of witnesses and security cameras around if you’re going to make such a purchase.
 
Last Halloween, a potential buyer in a similar scam in Anne Arundel County was shot and killed after he tried to buy a car that also had been advertised on Craigslist.
 

Police said one of the suspects is described as a black male in his early 20's, approximately 6-foot to 6-foot-2, 160-180 pounds with shoulder length dreadlock hair and a goatee. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing a “fisherman” hat, black shirt with a gold emblem and light jeans, police said.

Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to contact Anne Arundel Police.

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