CAHOKIA, Ill. (KMOV) – Two brothers who run a home rehab business in Cahokia said someone sold their property on Craigslist without them even knowing about it.
Jon and Bob Cates, who own Advanced Property Preservation, said a complete stranger took a picture of their 16-foot utility trailer, posted it on Craigslist and sold it to another man.
The buyer thought he was getting a heck of a deal paying $300 for the trailer. Bob Cates said a reasonable price would have been $1,200.
The Cates say security cameras showed a stranger walking past their business, taking a picture of their trailer. Then he sold it on Craigslist.
The Cates said they watched the security video and saw the buyer who was scammed. He apparently lingered for about 30 minutes.
“He kicked the tires, looking underneath and I’m thinking, ‘this is the dumbest criminal I’ve ever seen,’” said Bob Cates.
The man they thought was the criminal was, instead, the victim who had no idea the seller did not own the trailer.
So the Cates ran their own Craigslist ad with the security camera pictures.
“We posted that to the Internet and said, ‘look, we know you have our trailer, and we want our trailer back,’” said Jon Cates.
The buyer contacted them within 20 minutes and returned the trailer the next day.
The buyer told News 4 the con man in this case was young and appeared to be in his early 20’s.
The suspect apparently had an answer for everything and wrote the buyer a worthless receipt.
The Cates offered to pay the buyer his $300 back.
But the buyer turned it down and told them he would consider it a life lesson.