Family shares warning after thieves take $30K in items: ‘It was like a kid in a candy store’

LODI, Ohio - Luke Farren says he has used Craigslist flawlessly numerous times so he did not hesitate to list a prized Yamaha motocross bike that he wanted to sell.

Although it was worth considerably more new and had many upgrades, the bike was listed at more than $4,000, a fair price with depreciation, he thought.

Soon after, he took a call from a number that appeared to come from the Akron area with a buyer who was interested in seeing the bike.

"We set up a deal where he was supposed to meet me and he bailed, said he was going to come the next day because he was so far away," said Farren, who also gave the caller his address.

The following morning he was not home.

His mother says she returned from the grocery store when she saw the garage door ajar and went inside the house to ask her husband if he had been outside.

"He said no, not since 10:30 the previous night and he got up and immediately came to the garage, came back and questioned me, 'did our son come and pick up the dirt bikes to go meet these people elsewhere? That I know of, I said no,' and he said, 'the dirt bikes are gone,"" said Amy Farren.

Farren says the thieves took three dirt bikes including the one he advertised for sale and his father's bike as well as a chainsaw.

"They came in there and it was like a kid in a candy store and they said grab everything we can; they grabbed even my dad's brand new chainsaw that he just purchased and actually sharpened the chain on that night they stole it," said Farren.

Through a friend of his within the biking community, Farren soon learned that his friend in Medina, who listed a bike for sale, got a call from a potential customer who also had his stolen.

By comparing notes and phone numbers they were led to an Instagram post where Farren says he was able to see people on bikes riding around the Youngstown area and one of those bikes was definitely his.

"That's my bike right there. There's so many parts on that bike I can identify, every scratch on that bike," said Farren, pointing to a yellow Yamaha dirt bike in the video which he shared with FOX 8 News.

Farren says he tracked down the neighborhood in Youngstown where the video was taken, drove to the neighborhood and contacted Youngstown police who acted swiftly.

An arrest was made at the location on an unrelated matter but his bikes were not recovered.

The amount of his family's loss is estimated to be near $30,000.

Craigslist was contacted by FOX 8 News for a comment.

The website publishes safety recommendations, saying, "The overwhelming majority of Craigslist users are trustworthy and well-meaning."

The site did not respond directly to FOX 8 News' request for a statement on Monday, but online it recommends the following:

When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center.
Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
Be especially careful buying/selling high value items.
Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
Take your cell phone along if you have one.
Consider having a friend accompany you.
Trust your instincts.

**Read more, here**

Nearby Medina Township Police Department is among a growing list of departments and communities that have established online interaction zones where people can conduct transactions safely.

The Medina Township safe zone is right in front of the police department with cameras monitoring everything.

"It's recorded; it's on 24 hours a day, seven days a week so everybody can come here and feel safe," said Medina Township Police Chief David Arbogast, who says if anything were to happen there, the cameras would give them a clear video of the offender including license plates.

Farren, meanwhile, would like to be able to get his property back and to make sure others who use the internet to sell valuable merchandise know that these thieves are out there and there is nothing stopping them from striking again.

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