Rohnert Park iPhone Home Invasion Robbery Subject Entering 1 Caught on Video
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Uploaded on May 22, 2008
Rohnert Park iPhone Home Invasion Robbery Subject
This guy come to my house acting like he wanted to buy the phone ..
Black Male 6'5 - 6'6 185lbs
Black Mitsubishi Eclipse
Rohnert Park seller catches Craigslist thief on video
Seller's second robbery in 6 months points to perils of Internet sales; police suspect group responsible
By Laura Norton
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 4:56 a.m.
Rohnert Park resident Wayne got more than he bargained for when he tried to sell a refurbished iPhone on the Internet classifieds forum Craigslist this week.
Instead of a buyer, he got a robber who came to his home, took the $500 phone, two other high-end personal communication devices and $450 in cash and then ran, leaving Reavis with a few bruises and a knot on his head.
He reported the strong-arm robbery to Rohnert Park police, who said it's possible that a group of men are using Craigslist to identify potential robbery victims in Rohnert Park.
Small-scale online classifieds thefts, fraud and robberies are typically not reported to local law enforcement agencies, but police believe they are a regular occurrence.
Wayne even employed a high-tech crime-fighting device to combat robbery, placing a security camera at his door that has produced a video that can be found on YouTube.
He installed the camera after he was robbed a first time in November while making a Craigslist sale. Though the suspect was different in each case, the getaway vehicle -- a black Mitsubishi Eclipse with tinted windows -- appeared the same, said Rohnert Park Police Sgt. Art Sweeney.
"It wouldn't take an amateur detective to think that it could be the same guys in the car," he said.
Wayne said his small business buys, repairs and sells popular expensive mobile devices, mostly online. He said he also does contract work occasionally with AT&T.
He usually does business on the auction site eBay, but decided to move one of his phones to Craigslist because he needed fast cash for a vacation, he said.
Susan MacTavish, spokeswoman for Craigslist, said the company was "horrified" by the crime, but the amount of violent crime relating to ads on the Web site has been "extremely low."
"The overwhelming majority of Craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned," she said.
Wayne set up the Wednesday meeting at his home on Arlen Drive to sell a refurbished and slightly scratched iPhone he had advertised through Craigslist for $475.
The suspect agreed to purchase the phone, pulled out his wallet, asked Reavis if he had change, then hit him over the head, knocking him to the ground, Sweeney said.
The two scuffled on the floor before the suspect grabbed the iPhone, two other phones worth approximately $500 each, and $450 cash and fled, Sweeney said.
Police said the suspect was a black male in his 20s, approximately 6 feet 5 inches inches tall and 185 pounds.
On Nov. 9, another of Reavis' phones was stolen in a Craigslist deal.
That suspect was a white male in his 20s, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds.
Both suspects escaped in a black Mitsubishi Eclipse being driven by another person, Sweeney said.
Police and users of the popular video-sharing site YouTube have video of the suspect arriving at Wayne's door, thanks to the security camera that Wayne installed.
The suspect is seen waiting at the door, entering the house, then fleeing on foot before presumably jumping into the Eclipse off-camera, Sweeney said.
Wayne followed the suspect in his own car, but the driver of the Eclipse was speeding around school buses and he lost him, Sweeney said.
The suspect tossed one of the phones, an AT&T Tilt phone, out the window and yelled at him to stop following him, Sweeney said. That phone is being processed for fingerprints.
Wednesday was the first time Rohnert Park police have taken a report of violence in connection with an Internet-inspired theft, Sweeney said.
Sweeney said sellers on any Web site where they interact with people need to exercise caution when meeting.
"People who sell need to be aware that they are inviting a stranger into their home," he said. "If you didn't have an item for sale, would this be someone you would invite in?"
Craigslist bans all illegal activity on its site and posts messages on each ad alerting users to common scams, MacTavish said.
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