Craigslist seller's car stolen after couple takes test drive

Luther Burris says nothing about his recent Craigslist encounter appeared unusual or risky, until it was too late.

“It didn’t seem like I was going to get a bad end of this deal,” said Burris. “I’m a bit upset.”

Burris had posted an ad on the popular classifieds website in an effort to sell his 2005 Chrysler 300C with a hemi V8 engine.

A would-be buyer contacted him and agreed to meet Friday evening in the parking lot of the St. Louis Park apartment complex where Burris works as a caretaker and where 16 surveillance cameras are always watching.

“He asked me, "How it drove, was there enough power? Any issues? Any dash lights?’” said Burris. “All basic questions. I’ve sold and bought vehicles off Craigslist and it didn’t seem anything was out of the ordinary.”

The buyer showed up with a woman he identified as his wife and the pair asked to take Burris’ car for a test drive. He recalled telling them, ‘No problem’ and had the couple leave behind the keys to their own lesser model 300C to insure their return.

But they never came back. Once Burris realized he had been ripped off, he called police.

Investigators determined the car left behind had also been reported stolen and there was at least one additional plate that belonged to a third stolen vehicle.

“I haven’t heard of a case like this before, but there are a lot of similarities,” said Lt. Mike Garland of St. Louis Park police.

In the end, Burris and his young family were left without a ride.

The surveillance cameras captured the car’s coming and going, but failed to get a clean shot of the alleged thieves who apparently are targeting these popular Chrysler models.

“I don’t think it was their first time, obviously with as many stolen tags on the vehicle, it definitely wasn’t their first or second time,” said Burris.

Burris says he is kicking himself, but thought taking someone’s car keys was a better bet than taking a possible fake ID from an interested buyer.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the apparent scheme. St. Louis Park police are investigating to see if they can track down these thieves and reunite the stolen Chryslers with their rightful owners.