A Desert Hot Springs man was behind bars today of trying to rob two people who showed up to buy a car he advertised for sale on craigslist, police said.
Darius Mark Anthony Griffin, 21, who was arrested in the 12500 block of Miracle Hill Road in Desert Hot Springs about 4:45 p.m. Saturday, is also suspected of planning another robber, according to Desert Hot Springs police Cmdr. Dan Bressler.
Griffin, who police said was a felon with a long criminal record, allegedly posted an ad to sell a 2000 BMW 328i, Bressler said.
On Nov. 6, one man showed up at the Miracle Hill address with $3,250 in cash for the car and was ambushed by a robber, who emerged from behind an apartment building with his face covered.
“The suspect pointed a handgun at him and demanded the money. The victim managed to escape the suspect without turning over his money,” Bressler said.
On Nov. 7, Griffin agreed to meet another potential buyer, also at the Miracle Hill address, Bressler said.
“The victim saw two black males talking with each other. One walked past him and the other approached with a beanie over his face and started yelling at the victim to hand over the money,” the commander said. “When the victim refused, the suspect pulled out a handgun and tried to open the victim’s door. The suspect was also trying to shoot the victim, but the gun appeared to malfunction.”
The would-be car buyer got away without losing any cash and called 911.
Police soon identified as Griffin as the suspect, he said.
“Further investigation led them to believe Darius Griffin would be attempting another robbery based on the same craigslist ad he used previously,” Bressler said.
Officers began watchng the area and on Saturday saw Griffin leave his residence and walk toward the Miracle Hill location, Bressler said.
“When officers saw him put the beanie over his head they attempted to take him into custody. Griffin tried to run but was quickly captured,” the
commander said. “As he ran, he threw a loaded handgun and the beanie to the ground.”
When police searched Griffin’s home, they found more evidence, including stolen property “that he had been using for communication purposes
during these incidents,” Bressler said. “It was also revealed that he used a neighbor’s unlocked wireless system to both conceal and enhance his communication capabilities.”
Bressler said Griffin has a “lengthy” criminal history and was on probation for other felonies, Bressler said.
He was booked at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and held in lieu of $75,000 bail. He was expected to be arraigned Thursday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, according to jail records.
Bressler said people answering for-sale ads should meet seller in a well-lighted public place.
“If the seller balks at this request, or if you witness behavior that you believe to be suspicious in any way, abandon the effort and re-evaluate your options,” he said. “Further, this case would not have been solved had it not been for the victims notifying us of the crimes against them.”