Lorain police arrest three in Craigslist robbery sting

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LORAIN, Ohio- Officers netted three 18-year-olds while investigating Craigslist fraud in Lorain.

A man reached out to the Lorain Police Department on Wednesday after he made contact with a Craigslist poster. The man told police he was interested in buying a car in Lorain, but after doing more research, he learned the vehicle was actually located in Florida. He said he felt it was a scheme to rob him of $25,000 cash.

The man kept in contact with the Craigslist seller while police came up with a plan.

On Thursday, officers surrounded the suspects on West 10th Street in Lorain. They arrested Phillip A. Smith, but three other suspects fled.

The K-9 unit located Aaron M. Neal, who was wearing Latex gloves, hiding under a truck, and other officers found Bakari Sims in a backyard. Police did not find a fourth suspect.

A handgun was also discovered at the scene.

Neal was charged with conspiracy to aggravated robbery, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and possession of criminal tools; Sims was charged with conspiracy to aggravated robbery, resisting arrest and obstructing official business; and Smith was charged with conspiracy to aggravated robbery. All three are 18 years old and reside in Lorain.

The Lorain Police Department said this attempted robbery was prevented by an alert potential victim.

Detectives were already investigating a similar incident where a man was beaten and robbed at gunpoint while trying to buy a car in February. Police said they believe the crimes are connected.

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