Friday, June 17, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
I think I smell a sequel to the Craigslist Killer movie here. An appropriate title: the Hellacious Heist in Garden Grove.
Garden Grove police arrested two robbery suspects--and are still looking for a third man--after a cell-phone sale initiated on Craigslist went awry Tuesday evening.
The victims met up with the suspects--Laron James, Lydia Ruiz and the yet-to-be-found man--in the 13000 block of Magnolia Avenue around 5 p.m. to buy fourteen cell phones from them, according to a news release from the Garden Grove Police Department.
The two groups had met up on Monday, too, the release says, and the victims had purchased several phones without any trouble then.
When the suspects rolled up to the agreed-upon destination in a Chevy Impala Tuesday, James and the other man got out of the car and one of them "pointed a handgun at the victims and demanded their money," the release says. Once the victims coughed up an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspects peaced it and headed west on the 22 Freeway.
Tuesday night James and Ruiz were arrested outside a Southgate residence, which was linked to the car's license plate number, the release says. James is still in custody on $141,000 bond, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department's website
, but Ruiz posted bond this morning and was released. Garden Grove police are still looking for the third suspect and ask anyone with information on the robbery to call 714-741-5827.
This isn't the first Craigslist incident in Garden Grove this year, though. In April the police department put out a press release warning the public of a "series of 'Craigslist' crimes that are related to thefts or purchases with counterfeit money."
The press release references a March incident, in which a person looking to buy an iPhone agreed to meet up with a Craigslist seller. Once they met up, the suspect, later identified as Robert Gonzales, a 20-year-old from Anaheim, took the iPhone and ran to a getaway car.
Lieutenant Scott Watson's advice for the public: "If you're going to meet somebody in a parking lot with a lot of money, it's a dangerous way of doing business. And, if the deal's too good to be true, it probably is."
In the press release, police warned buyers and sellers to meet up only in public places. Perhaps at the Starbucks on Euclid Street and Chapman Avenue, where the March iPhone heist occurred, and where I sit now and write--warily.