Craigslist crimes are popping up in increasing numbers all over the nation, and San Antonio is no exception. The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) reports that three people were arrested this weekend in connection with an Eyetx Vision Center robbery last Friday, off of DeZavala Road, after one of the suspects posted his phone number on a Craigslist ad.
ABC KSAT 12 in San Antonio reports that an employee of Eyetx, Christopher Delafuente, 21, was the main culprit in devising an armed robbery of the store. The two other people involved, Margarita Rodriguez, 29, and Carlos Delgado, 23, allegedly went into the store, with Rodriguez brandishing a gun, and demanded both cash and a bagful of eyeglasses. Delafuente, who was working at the store on the day the robbery occurred, filled up the bag with eyeglasses from the display counter.
Delafuente called the police after the alleged robbery, and KENS 5 reports that he provided his phone number to the officers who were dispatched to the store. Shortly after, an inquiry revealed that the number Delafuente gave to the police was the same number being used as contact information on a Craiglist ad selling eyeglasses.
In a hidden investigation, San Antonio detectives contacted the person who created the Craigslist ad, pretending to be buyers interested in the eyeglasses. The suspects replied to the detectives and led them directly to the stolen merchandise. When the detectives arrived, they met up with all three suspects, who were subsequently arrested on charges unrelated to the robbery.
However, while interviewing each suspect, all three admitted to their part in the crime. While Delgado and Rodriguez owned up to their part in robbing the store, Delafuente avowed that he asked the other two to rob the store and give him the merchandise to sell.
On Saturday, all three suspects were charged with aggravated robbery. They remain at the Bexar County Jail.
Although Craigslist is a way for people in their communities to conveniently find lower-priced items to buy quickly, the anonymity of the site’s users has led to a string of severe crimes. The Huffington Post reports that there has been at least 45 murders connected to Craigslist since 2009. This list of victims continues to grow, which includes kidnappings, fraudulent schemes, and armed robberies.
Meanwhile, numerous police stations across the U.S. set up “safe zones,” located directly at the police stations, for Craigslist users to make transactions. Yet, many Craigslist crimes occur online, with no in-person meetings at all. In these instances, authorities urge people to use their common sense when purchasing things over the internet.
For instance, it’s recommended to never purchase merchandise over the internet without seeing the product first. Sites such as eBay provide buyer protection in the event that a seller doesn’t send purchased items to the buyer, but Craigslist offers no such protection. If it seems too good to be true, police state that it probably is.