Men in Craigslist scam charged with attempted theft
February 12, 2014
Oakland, Calif.--Three men whose arrest last year led to the uncovering of a scheme to steal diamonds and jewelry from Craigslist sellers are now facing federal charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery.
Keegan Cotton Jr., Jaedon Evans and Rafael Davis were arrested in Oakland last summer for their involvement in an attempt to steal a diamond from a woman who had flown from Colorado to California to sell her diamond through a Craigslist ad.
A criminal complaint filed by FBI agent Paul Healy in U.S. District Court in Oakland identified Cotton and Evans as the two that attempted to rob the victim, while Evans was driving the car used to flee the scene, according to the complaint.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the arrests of the three and resulting investigation of cell phone records led to the discovery of a ring of thieves that allegedly stole cut diamonds, jewelry and Rolex watches by luring at least 18 victims from around the country to Oakland via Craigslist, the popular classified ad website.
According to local news, a member of the crew posing as a jewelry buyer would contact sellers using Craigslist and offer a plane ticket to the Bay Area to purchase the item. The seller would then be met with a limousine, often paid for with a stolen credit card, and taken to the location where the robbery would occur.
Last month, an FBI agent filed an affidavit in federal court in Sacramento, Calif. as part of an application to get a search warrant to search the Tracy, Calif., home of a fourth defendant, Michael Martin.
Martin was arrested during the subsequent search, and has since been charged in U.S. District Court in Sacramento with being an ex-felon in illegal possession of a gun. Though he has not yet been charged in connection with the group, the affidavit alleges that he was a key player.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told National Jeweler that Cotton, Evans and Davis have all been detained. The three have been charged in the federal criminal complaint in filed in Oakland on the counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery affecting interstate commerce and aiding and abetting.
All three will go before Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore within the next week--Cotton on Feb. 18 in an initial appearance for an I.D. of Counsel hearing and Davis on Wednesday and Evans on Thursday for detention hearings, according to the U.S. Federal Courts website.