89ºF

Craigslist car sale ends in arrest after buyer uses fake money, police say

Suspect handed seller envelope full of fake cash then drove off

APOPKA, Fla. – A man trying to sell his car on Craiglist ended up with a wad of fake dollar bills as seen right out of the movies, according to Apopka police.

Bacarri Austell faces charges of grand theft and using counterfeit bills after he allegedly drove off with a Mercedes he bought on Craigslist, and paid for it using fake money.

According to detectives, Austell agreed to meet along Royal Oaks Drive near his home in Apopka on Tuesday, so he could buy a 2007 black Mercedes-Benz SUV for $14,500.

When Austell met the car owner, they took it for a test drive and then Austell handed over an envelope of money to the victim. He then quickly drove off.

The victim told News 6 Austell showed him an orange envelope with the top of the bills on the side. The bills appeared real from that angle, but the victim quickly realized they were fake when he pulled them out. 

The victim, who declined to go on camera, said he has been using Craigslist for years and never ran into any issues. He even brought along a friend to oversee the sale.

Austell was identified and arrested after the victim was able to find and match Austell's phone number on social media. Apopka police said that number was also used in a separate case where someone tried to use fake money to buy a different car.

Apopka officers suggest the seller always set the location of the trade. Officers added that anyone using Craiglist to complete the sale in front of a police station, which has cameras pointed all over the parking lot. 

For more tips on how to avoid Craigslist scams click here.

"I'm very sorry," said Austell after he was released from the Orange County Jail. Austell told News 6 if he could go back in time, he wouldn't commit the crime. 

"Not do it, that's it," he added. 


About the Author: