29-year-old Joseph Vindel of New Orleans was shot and killed this past Sunday after meeting up with someone from Facebook Marketplace who was supposed to be buying Vindel’s dirt bike. From what I can tell, the dirt bike was of the motorcycle variety.
Vindel went to meet the buyer at a Harvey, Louisiana apartment complex where 20-year-old Jalen Harvey is believed to have shot Vindel while Vindel sat in his car. Harvey then allegedly drove Vindel’s vehicle that was towing the dirt bike to a New Orleans street where Harvey abandoned the car and Vindel’s body. Harvey is then said to have ridden the dirt bike back to his home.
After Vindel’s family reported him missing, police were able to track his last known location where they found Harvey in possession of Vindel’s dirt bike. Police have said that Harvey has admitted to shooting Vindel.
Just because something isn’t craigslist doesn’t mean you should abandon safety measures when it comes to selling something online. If you’re going to make an in-person exchange using any marketplace platform, your best bet is to meet the other person at a local police department. Many police departments now have areas set up where these exchanges can be made. While it’s not the perfect solution, it can go a long way in discouraging robberies and other violent crimes. Tragically, I’ve posted too many stories where victims have gone to an apartment complex to either buy or sell an item only to end up murdered.
The old rules don’t apply anymore. You can’t just meet someone in a public place during the day. Even in those circumstances, murders have occurred.
Crimes like this don’t only happen on craigslist anymore as they have spread to apps like OfferUp and now Facebook Marketplace as well.
You may have had no problem anytime you have used one of these platforms, but it only takes one bad time or one lapse in judgement to alter your life forever. In my opinion, it’s akin to playing Russian Roulette.