Glendale carjacking victim warns Craigslist car sellers

Posted at 6:45 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 01:50:37-04

A Glendale man is hoping people learn from his mistake after a Craigslist sale gone wrong.

Justice Khalsa has sold vehicles on the website before, however, on Saturday, he was caught off guard.

He had been cutting his grass when he got a text message from a potential buyer. The man asked for his address and showed up about 15 minutes later.

Khalsa said he was a very thin black man, possibly of Nigerian, Somalian or Ghanaian descent. He says the man was soft spoken and very polite.

He had inquired about a Cadillac Khalsa was selling but had asked if his 2005 Nissan Infiniti QX56 was for sale. Khalsa said yes and the man asked to take it for a test drive.

Khalsa started the car with a remote start for the man. The man got in the car and when Khalsa tried to get in the passenger seat, the door was locked.

"He just jumped in and is revving the engine," Khalsa said. "I knocked on the window and said unlock the door. He just reversed it so fast and when he backed up the car, I was in front of him and he started coming with the car towards me."

Khalsa said he had his hands on the hood as the man continued driving towards him. Rather than get run over, he jumped out of the way and the man took off down his long driveway and onto the road.

"It was horrifying," Khalsa said. "I almost got killed or injured badly. I couldn't believe I trusted somebody and somebody would do that. I let my guard down. He was too fast, too quick. Maybe 15 seconds, he got in the car and was out."

Khalsa said in the future, he would ask for a copy of the person's ID before letting them take a test drive and would not start the car for them. However, he said this could happen to anybody.

"I would say I'm more experienced than others but I was a little foolish," Khalsa said. "But lucky at the same time. I couldn't believe that happened in my driveway. Someone had the guts to come up my driveway. A lot of people said you should have met him at a parking lot but at this point, I'm thinking this could have happened anywhere."

Glendale Police say those making online sales in person should go to a safe space like the Police Department to make the transaction. At the Glendale Police Department, they posted signs about a year and a half ago for an internet purchase exchange location.

"It protects the person doing the sale and then, it's less that the Police Department has to follow up on afterwards," said Officer Todd Lynch with the Glendale Police Department. "This benefits everybody. When we can stop crime before it happens, it's always better than having to try and track people down and arrest them after the fact."

Police are optimistic they can find the man who stole the vehicle and Khalsa said he will continue to use Craigslist.

"I haven't had a bad experience before," Khalsa said. "This was the first. Hopefully, it's the last."