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Craigslist ad, Walmart receipt lead police straight to suspects in theft

LARGO — Police have arrested two Craigslist sellers they say brazenly advertised stolen goods in an online listing.

The men even included in the listing a receipt for a laptop purchased with a stolen credit card, police said. It was the credit card number on that receipt that tipped authorities.

Police charged Perry Christopher Gunning, 21, and Justin Jones, 21, with grand theft, credit card fraud and dealing in stolen property, Largo police Lt. Edward Sohoski said.

Jones was also charged with battery on the credit card's owner, who was robbed June 28.

Police said Jones drove the victim from a bar in Clearwater into the Largo city limits, taking the man's clothes and belongings and leaving him unconscious.

"The victim doesn't remember leaving the bar," Sohoski said. "He was left in his underwear, unconscious."

According to an arrest report, Jones and Gunning used the man's credit card to buy a laptop, pocket knife, flashlight and protein powder from Walmart. They also purchased food at nearby restaurants, spending $870 in all, the report said.

Sohoski said the men listed the laptop and the victim's cell phone for sale on Craigslist on July 1. Officers searched Craigslist for the brand of laptop that was purchased with the stolen credit card and discovered the post, which conveniently included the Walmart receipt — in case the buyer wanted to return the laptop.

Police check Craigslist and social media sites like Facebook for stolen goods "all the time," Sohoski said.

"You'd be surprised what people will say and what they will post," he said. "With social media becoming what it has, absolutely we'll check that stuff."

Police conducted an undercover operation to buy the stolen goods and arrested the men Wednesday. They are still looking for another suspect, Cole Robert Platt, 28, in connection with the case, police said.

Katie Park can be reached at (727) 445-4154 or kpark@sptimes.com.

Craigslist ad, Walmart receipt lead police straight to suspects in theft 07/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2011 7:29pm]
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