(KMOV.com) -- A Jefferson County couple is out $1,200 after answering a house rental ad through Craigslist.
The pair met a man for a tour of the house on Ozark Drive in Highridge, and everything seemed normal. The man had a key to the house and, after a walkthrough, the couple agreed to the $500 deposit and $700 for the first month’s rent.
The man said he was renting the home for his father. After making the transaction, the couple took the key and moved some belongings into the house.
According to a neighbor, that was the last time the couple could get into the home.
“She said she paid him money and even put some of her things in the house but when she came back and use the key he gave her, it didn’t work and turns out he was only a renter and not the owner,” said Sarah Nichol.
But that didn’t stop the man from continuing the story. According to police, he kept up the lie even after the key didn’t work.
“He called her the next day and said his father didn’t want to rent it but wanted to sell it,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Captain Ron Arnhart.
The man kept the money, and the couple was out a home.
Authorities say if residents are not renting from an apartment complex or through a realtor, they are urged to check with the county assessor's office to find out who really owns the property.
However, the couple in this case took steps to protect themselves. Initially, they asked to see a driver’s license. When the man gave an excuse for not having one, they took his picture.
After finding out they had been scammed, the couple showed the photo to police. Officer’s recognized him and arrested him immediately.