Craigslist ad leads to theft of high-end mountain bike in Auburn

Victim advises users to meet with prospective buyer at location away from home
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - A North Auburn man who had his high-end bike stolen is warning others to take precautions when using Craigslist. Rich Holiday’s Craigslist posting for selling his Yeti SB 66 mountain bike was answered by a man who visited his North Auburn home but decided not to buy. Holiday reported to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office that he left his Atwood Road-area house shortly after meeting the man and returned about two hours later to find the bike – worth $6,500 – was gone from his garage. While Holiday was out, the break-in also left him missing another bicycle of lesser value, plus bike accessories, golf clubs and cordless power tools. “Clear as a bell, I was being cased,” Holiday said. “I was only gone 2½ hours.” Holiday said his primary mistake was not meeting a man who identified himself as only “Mark” at a location away from his house and preferably in a place with other people around. According to the sheriff’s report, the total value of the theft was estimated at $8,950. The theft occurred Feb. 24 and the investigation is continuing. “Mark” was described by Holiday as in his 30s, with brown hair, about 5-feet-10-inches and approximately 180 pounds. Holiday said he received a text to set up the meeting at his house but that he believes an app used by the thief erased the phone number that was used. The 37-year-old contractor said that he didn’t pay attention to the phone number when the text appeared – other than to note it was a ‘916’ area code. When he checked later, the number was gone from his call log. The Sheriff’s Office is advising caution in Craigslist dealings and is offering some safety tips. “With Craigslist, you’re doing business with an unknown,” spokeswoman Dena Erwin said Tuesday. “We recommend always meeting in a public place, never at or in your home.” If a Craigslist contact must be made in person at home, never meet the person alone, Erwin said. “Have someone at the house with you,” Erwin said. “Also, always use and accept cash or use some sort of secured transaction for large amounts of money. Unfortunately, we’ve found Craigslist to be a magnet for fraud.”