Desert Hot Springs police arrested 21-year-old Darius Griffin on Saturday for trying to rob two people who showed up to buy a car he advertised for sale on Craigslist. Police say on November 6, a man showed up with $3,250 in cash to purchase a BMW Griffin posted on Craigslist. Soon after, the suspect appeared wearing a beanie covering his face. The suspect pointed a gun at him and demanded the money. The victim managed to escape the suspect without turning over the money. The next day, a second victim located the same ad. The victim saw two black males talking with each other. One approached with a beanie over his face and started yelling at the victim to hand over the money. Again, a gun was pulled, but again the victim fled. After an investigation, police arrested Griffin on Saturday as he was planning to commit another robbery. This is not the first time Griffin has been in trouble because of Craigslist. In 2010, he was arrested for selling stolen items on the website.
Officers say Griffin's actions made him an important case. "The potential for danger and what he tried to do these people, was unconscionable," said Desert Hot Springs' Commander Dan Bressler. "We had to make him a priority so that's what we did."
The victims said Griffin asked them to meet him in secluded areas including a parking lot behind an apartment complex in Desert Hot Springs. "The persons were very vulnerable where they met this guy, and could've had tragic results," said Bressler. "Fortunately they got out okay and fortunately our SET team was able to capture this guy."
Craigslist.com offers these safety tips for the website's users:
-Insist on a public meeting place.
-Be especially careful when buying or selling high value items.
-Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
-Take your cell phone along with you.
-Consider taking a friend with you.
-Trust your instincts.