Young couple robbed at gunpoint by phony Craigslist seller - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Young couple robbed at gunpoint by phony Craigslist seller


We've all heard warnings about the dangers of purchasing or selling on web sites like Craigslist, but one young couple says they learned their lesson the hard way after they were robbed at gunpoint Monday afternoon.

They almost lost $450, but the apologetic robber was willing to settle for $250.

Zach Ochoa and Alyssa Franco responded to a Craigslist ad while scouring stores for the sold out PlayStation 4.

They contacted the man who posted the ad and agreed to meet with him at a park near 50th and Chicago.

"We walked up to him… He looked like he was about to go into an apartment, like he was going to get the PS4 so we stopped and that's when he turned around with the gun," Franco said. "He said 'I'm sorry but I really need this money.'"

Franco was holding the $450 she had planned to spend on the gift for Ochoa. She said she saw the robber's finger on the trigger when he pointed the gun directly at her.

She says she made a deal with the man and talked him out of taking all of the money.

"He said 'I'll just take $250' and so I counted out my $200 and said here... and then I told him Merry Christmas."

Franco and Ochoa now believe that the ad was a trick to lure prospective buyers into bringing money for a game console that he never really had.

Police are advising anyone that uses Craigslist or any similar web sites to use caution when meeting with a seller.

Here are some tips they suggest to help you stay out of harm's way.

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Never give any money up front for promised goods, services or winnings. Never give out financial information - like bank account or credit card numbers.

3. If purchasing from a stranger, meet in a public place - consider the lobby of a public building or the parking lot of the police department.

4. Talk to the seller on the phone, not just through text messages... You can get a better feeling from the person's voice.

5. Listen to your instincts. If something doesn't seem right, trust yourself and call off the deal.

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