A 22-year-old Lake Forest man was behind bars today on charges of posing as the seller of a laptop computer to rob unsuspecting buyers, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Jacob Michael Shablo, whose bail was set at $100,000, was arrested Friday on a warrant for attempted robbery with sentence-enhancing gun use allegations, according to court and jail records.
About 9:40 p.m. Thursday, a 48-year-old man and his 27-year-old niece responded to a Craigslist ad for a laptop computer and were met by an armed man demanding cash in the 23400 block of Red Robin Way in Lake Forest, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“They managed to convince him they only came to look at the computer, to inspect it, but they weren’t prepared to buy it and had no cash on them,” Amormino said. “The suspect panicked and fled.”
Investigators identified a suspect and obtained the arrest warrant on Friday, but were unable to find him, Amormino said.
On Friday night, sheriff’s deputies received a call of a suspicious vehicle in the same block as the attempted robbery the night before, Amormino said.
When deputies questioned the man in the vehicle, they discovered he was a victim of the same type of ruse, Amormino said.
“He said he was robbed at gunpoint responding to an ad on Craigslist for a laptop computer,” Amormino said. The victim gave the robber a “large amount” of cash that was “over $1,000,” Amormino said.
Deputies tracked down Shablo a short time later at Lake Center Drive and Boeing Lane, Amormino said.
All of the victims identified Shablo as the alleged robber, Amormino said.
Deputies advise online shoppers to meet sellers in a well-lighted location such as a police station, coffee house or restaurant, Amormino said.
“In this case it was a dead-end street,” he said.