TAMPA, Fla. - Two Florida teenagers face charges after allegedly killing a man in front of his son Tuesday during a meeting arranged on Craigslist.
Stuart Beck, 15, had grown too big for his prized dirt bike and was ready to sell it, so the family decided to look for a buyer.
"I got it as a Christmas present and I worshiped it, because it came from my dad," Beck told WFLA-TV. "He taught me how to ride. It started as his hobby and moved on to mine."
Stuart's father, James Beck, posted an ad on Craigslist and it didn't take long for an interested buyer to set up a meeting.
The father and son went together to a neighborhood in Tampa at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, where they met 16-year-old Ramontrae Williams and 17-year-old Dontae Johnson, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Police say the young men stole the dirt bike and shot Stuart's father right in front of him.
"He was a wonderful man," Stuart said of his father. "He had a great sense of humor, always knew how to make someone laugh."
Officers found the dirt bike near Williams' home and arrested both men on murder and armed robbery charges.
If convicted, Williams and Johnson could spend the rest of their lives in prison.
"He always had a smile on his face and he made the whole room happy," said Stuart Beck.
While Craigslist can be a valuable tool for community sales, many crimes have been committed using the site, with criminals luring victims to encounters that have ended in murder, attempted murder, child predator arrests, armed robbery, and multiple scams.
While Craigslist downplays Craigslist-related crime on its website, the company does recommend these safety tips before meeting a potential buyer for the first time:
- Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center
- Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home
- Be especially careful buying/selling high value items
- Tell a friend or family member where you're going
- Take your cellphone along if you have one
- Consider having a friend accompany you
- Trust your instincts