MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brianna Fleming thought she was buying a car. But what she got was a nightmare.
Police say the 22-year-old agreed to meet with Sherman Tolbert after seeing his ad for the car on Facebook.
Investigators say Tolbert and his accomplice picked up Fleming in a silver Infiniti and drove her to a house off South Parkway Saturday night, where a selection of vehicles were in the backyard.
When Fleming picked the Infiniti they came in. They all got in the car to discuss price.
That’s when police say Tolbert drove here to the end of the street, pointed a gun at Feming, demanded money, and ended up stealing $1,200 from her before letting her go.
Tolbert and Ladaisha Howard were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.
“You can’t trust nobody no more. It’s hard to trust anyone nowadays,” said JR Curry. He says buying a car through something like Facebook or Craigslist is too risky.
“My thing is she shouldn’t even been on Facebook shopping around if you ask me. You need to go to a dealer or someone you know you can trust.”
And if you do meet someone in person to buy something arranged online, police suggest you bring a friend. Meet in a busy, public place during the daytime, and don`t bring a lot of cash. Instead, buy whatever it is with a check or use an online service like PayPal.
Bridget Jacobs says you definitely don`t go alone.
“You supposed to have somebody with you. You don’t go by yourself, especially to meet a guy. No way.
Memphis Police offered this advice for people buying or selling on sites like Facebook or Craigslist:
- Do not agree to meet someone and bring a large amount of cash. There are other ways to make payment, such as PayPal, check, credit card.
- Be adamant about meeting at a public location. (e.g. shopping center, restaurant)
- Bring your cellphone with you.
- Do not invite sellers or buyers to your home.
- Take particular care when purchasing or selling high value items.
- Tell someone the date, time, and location of the meeting. MEET AT A HEAVILY POPULATED LOCATION.
- Bring a friend with you.
- Conduct the transaction during DAYLIGHT hours.
- Trust your gut. If something feels odd walk away from the deal.