Victim helps cops nab alleged Craigslist robber

Who that knew meeting a stranger from the Internet in person could be so dangerous?
A 51-year-old man from New Hope might have muttered that very question when he was maced and robbed in West Philadelphia on June 18 by a guy who offered to buy the victim’s jewelry on Craigslist, police said.
The tale of e-commerce gone wrong goes something like this:
A few months ago, the victim turned to Craigslist to sell a $14,500 diamond ring.
He found a potential buyer in a guy who identified himself as Mike Farson. “Mike” said that he was from Maryland, cops said.
The seller suggested that he and “Mike” make their transaction at 30th Street Station.
“He thought he was being careful and had control of the situation by arranging the meeting in a public space,” said Capt. Benjamin Naish, of Southwest Detectives.
The deal took a twist when the two men met at 30th Street Station. “Mike” said that he needed to pick up his money someplace else.
He convinced the seller to drive him to a rowhouse on St. Bernard Street near Spruce, in West Philadelphia, Naish said.
“Mike” — who was later identified as Corey Jackson, 22 — made a show of talking on his cell phone before finally agreeing to finish the transaction.
The seller pulled out the ring, and Jackson promptly sprayed him in the face with pepper spray, grabbed the ring and took off, Naish said.
But instead of playing the role of a helpless victim, the seller decided to strike back.
He placed phony ads on Craigslist, hoping to lure Jackson into a trap, Naish said. The ruse worked.
Jackson agreed to meet the seller at a parking lot at 47th Street and City Avenue at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Both men showed up — and so did police. Jackson, of Olive Street near 49th, was charged with robbery and aggravated assault.
Naish said that investigators believe that he might have been involved in similar robberies that were set up through Craigslist in Bethlehem and other areas.
“I think this case really illustrates how creative some criminals are getting,” he said. “People have to be more careful."