SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — The chance to buy a $38,000 luxury car for about $9,000?
“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true,” said the victim in this story.READ MORE: One Of The World's Largest Homes Is About To Go Up For Sale In Bel Air
The 21-year-old San Clemente man learned his lesson the hard way.
The man asked KCAL9 not to show his face. But he wanted to tell his story and he sat down Friday with KCAL9’s Stacey Butler.
The story starts with the man looking for a used Audi on Craigslist.
“I bought cars, fixed them up and sold them. I was always on Craigslist from a very young age. Never got scammed like this though,” the man said.
Police said Michael Garduno, 25, was trying to sell a 2013 Audi S5 on Craigslist — the only problem is, it wasn’t his to sell.
Garduno allegedly agreed to meet the man from San Clemente at a BMW dealership in Santa Ana.
Wearing a polo shirt with the BMW logo, the dealership said they had no idea what Garduno was up to.
“He said he had it on consignment at the dealership and I felt like yes, this is possible,” said the victim.
Looking back, the victim now says there were red flags.READ MORE: Drone Drops Drugs Into Orange County Jail Courtyard
“He wanted me to check out the car without him being there already,” he said.
“He wanted me to do the transaction outside the dealership,” said the man citing another flag.
Their texts back and forth tell the rest of the story. Police said Garduno — using a throw-away phone — wrote: “If u could wait for me that would be good unless you don’t tell them anything. Just tell them ur just looking ok?”
The man from San Clemente wrote, “It’s just one of those too good to be true. It is scary, you understand where I’m coming from.”
As he waited, the victim said he became increasingly suspicious. He still paid Garduno in cash.
“We got inside and he was like just sit here I have to grab paperwork really quick from the back,” the victim said.
The victim’s father noticed Garduno had slipped out the back and gave chase. He managed to catch the suspect’s license plate number. He wrote it on his hand.
Detectives arrested Garduno. Officials in Orange County believe there are more victims out there — possibly in Riverside and San Bernardino counties as well.
The victim told Butler he hopes others will come forward — and that the suspect gets help.MORE NEWS: Beach Erosion Suspends All Metrolink, Amtrak Service Between OC, San Diego