FRESNO, CA --Police said more criminals are hunting classified ad sites for their victims. Wednesday afternoon Fresno officers arrested three people for robbing an unsuspecting man.
They said the suspects lured the victim using a popular website and the promise of sex.
What should have been a quick transaction turned into a violent carjacking Wednesday. A 64-year-old man the victim in this robbery by appointment.
It all started on Backpage.com. Police said the victim was responding to an ad.
"They made an arrangement, and agreement for maybe prostitution type activity," said Lt. Joe Gomez, Fresno Police.
But when he showed up to the River Park area the suspects made him re-route to a more secluded area.
"Three Hispanic males attacked this victim, beat him, took his car, took his wallet," said Gomez.
Officers caught up with the stolen car a few hours later and 18-year-olds Brandon Valadez and Homero Mondragon were arrested along with a 17-year-old.
All three charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle.
Police say these online to real world encounters have been growing.
"From my understanding, this one ended up in an alley. So obviously that would be maybe a clue," said Sgt. Doug Goertzen, Fresno Police Department.
On Tuesday, a similar story unraveled on the city's west side-- this time happening on Craigslist.
"The victim is selling the phone, the suspect just takes it, sticks a gun in his chest. So it happens pretty often," said Gomez.
So often police are asking people to pick better locations in the most public places to negotiate business.
"Obviously, we want people to be aware of who they are meeting online and if they meet, meet in a populated area where you can be safe," said Goertzen.
Officers said they are still determining what role the suspects played in the carjacking so more charges could follow.