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Thieves Posing as Craigslist Buyers Take Off With Sellers' Cars

Be careful what details you post on the Internet.

A California couple and a New York man learned this lesson the hard way this week after posting ads selling their vehicles on Craigslist.org.

With a baby on the way, Manuel Ramirez and his wife, Maria Tirado, wanted to add more pennies to their bank account by selling their 1973 Chevelle. When a man responded to the Craigslist ad, they thought they had a potential buyer, but they were wrong, Fox5 San Diego reports.

Eager to sell the car, Ramirez gave the man their address. The buyer showed up to try it out for speed, or, in this case, speed away.

"I felt anger," Tirado told Fox5. "I thought, 'how could a guy come over to your house and just take off with your car?'"

The classic car was a beauty. It had new rims, new paint and was in good condition.

As the thief sped away, Tirado said she told her husband to follow him, “but he lost him because there are so many streets in our neighborhood."

The couple called police, who found the car this week. Police said the case was still under investigation, but they wouldn't say if anyone had been arrested.

Click here for more on this story from Fox5.

A similar incident happened to a Brooklyn man this week, but the story took a U-turn in the victim's favor.

The victim, who does not want to be identified, listed his 2005 Nissan Maxima on the Craigslist site and then met up with a prospective "buyer," who put the pedal to the metal as soon as he got into the driver’s seat, the New York Post reports.

But unlike the California couple, this trusting seller was able to turn the tables on the alleged thief.

He used his original method of advertisement on Craigslist to track down his own stolen vehicle.

He scanned Craigslist and found a similar advertisement to his own and called the number listed.As he guessed, the voice on the other end sounded familiar.

"I kinda knew it was him," he told the New York Post.

With the help of police and Shomrim, an Orthodox Jewish anti-crime patrol, the speed racer was caught after setting up a sting operation.

Click here for more on this story from the New York Post. 

Authorities say that anyone selling a car online or through a newspaper ad should take several precautions to avoid theft:
• Meet prospective buyers at a public place
• Ask for the driver's license and write down the name and number
• Ride along on test drives
• Bring your cell phone.

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