ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Montgomery County man is speaking out and warning others after a person he met through the OfferUp app pretending to be interested in purchasing his car ended up stealing the vehicle instead.
“Immediately, I thought he was actually just going to turn around at the corner,” said the victim.
Three weeks ago, this Rockville man was left running behind his Mercedes that was driven off by a man he had just met.
"He actually sped off pretty fast, so when he actually drove off our driveway coming into the complex, that is when I realized he had taken my car,” the victim recalled.
The suspect agreed to meet the victim outside of his Rockville apartment complex after responding to a sales ad on the OfferUp app for his Mercedes, a car that he was selling for $8,000.
“It was very normal," said the victim. "He was very kind, very genuine."
They test drove the car together. The suspect showed him his learner's driving permit and then asked if the seller would take a video of him driving the car so he could show his father.
This was the last interaction the two had before the thief sped off without paying for the Mercedes.
“I chased after him and obviously he was gone before I got out of our driveway,” the victim said. “When I realized he was taking my car, I called the cops right away.”
The victim is out of a car, but it was almost a lot more. On Tuesday, his bank called him to inform him that the suspect attempted to wipe him out of $10,000 after he tried to cash a blank check that was left in the stolen car.
He is hoping this incident will serve as a cautionary tale for anyone else looking to sell large ticket items to strangers using an app.
“I will be diligent about going after [the suspect], making sure you get caught, your friends get caught and whoever else you’re working with gets caught,” said the victim. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing online apps anymore. I am definitely going to dealerships from now on.”
Rockville City police have issued a warrant out for the suspect’s arrest.
If you are thinking of selling something through a meetup app, Montgomery County police said you can ask to meet the buyer or seller at any of the police stations at their parking lots or inside the lobby for a safe exchange.