An arrangement over a Craigslist car posting reportedly went wrong Sunday afternoon after a victim told Madison County deputies that a young man held him at gunpoint and stole his car in rural Edwardsville.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said an aggravated vehicular car jacking was reported at approximately 3:20 p.m. Sunday. According to a press release, the victim told deputies that he arranged to meet with someone, who responded to a Craigslist posting he made in relation to a car for sale. The victim arranged to meet at the parking lot of a business near the intersection of St. James Road and Moro Road.
Capt. T. Mike Dixon said the victim went to the business at approximately 1:45 p.m. Police did not identify the name of the business where the meeting took place. The suspect arrived at the business with an unknown female, in what was believed to be a black Ford Mustang. The suspect was described as a young black male, approximately 5 foot, 1 inch to 5-3, thin, with lighter skin and short dread locks, or twists in his hair.
The female who was with the suspect was described as a young, light-skinned, short black female with a thin build. The female was captured on the business’ surveillance system before the alleged robbery occurred.
Dixon said the victim allowed the suspect into his 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Shortly after entering the car, the suspect reportedly produced a handgun, pointed it at the victim and ordered him out of the car. Authorities said the victim slapped at the handgun, which was pointed at his face, and the gun discharged inside of the vehicle. The victim was not injured, according to police.
The victim then fled from the vehicle after the shot was fired and ran back to the business, where a friend was parked in a second car. Authorities said the suspect fled the area, driving the victim’s car. The victim and his friend attempted to pursue the suspect, going southbound from the scene to Illinois 159, to Buchta Road and then southbound onto I-255.
While chasing the stolen vehicle, the victim called 911 to report the incident. As the vehicle proceeded westbound onto I-55/70 toward St. Louis, a Fairmont City police officer attempted to stop the suspect. The suspect fled from the pursuing officer at speeds over 100 mph.
Due to concerns for the safety of the general public, the officer stopped the pursuit. The suspect reportedly continued westbound over the Popular Street Bridge, into St. Louis.
Authorities said Monday afternoon that they are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a female who was with the suspect. Anyone with information about the reported incident is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at one of the following numbers: the dispatch center at 618-692-4433, the anonymous tip line at 618-296-3000 or investigations at 618-692-0871.
“The Madison County Sheriff’s Office would like to take this opportunity to once again warn individuals from meeting strangers in random areas to purchases or sell items listed in online publications. The dangers associated with this type of activity are obvious and evident in this incident,” Dixon said in a news release.
“Events such as this are the reason the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and other police departments throughout the St. Louis region have established Internet Purchase Exchange Sites. The public must keep in mind that they don’t truly know who they are meeting, and what their actual motives are. Remember, all of these meetings involve at the very least money, and/or something of value, which are the two motivating factors in every criminal act. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation; simply choose to meet the buyer or seller at your local police department.”
Dixon described an incident the sheriff’s office investigated a little more than a year ago as a “similar situation” when a 19-year-old Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student was killed after meeting with a potential car buyer.
Authorities said Taylor Clark, of St. Jacob, met with 24-year-old Michael Gordon on May 4, 2015 for a test-drive of a car Clark had posted for sale on Craigslist. Police located Clark’s body shortly after finding his car in the 12000 block of Missouri Bottom Road in Hazelwood, Mo. Gordon was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder in connection to Clark’s death.