SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Police say a man suspected of selling high-end cars on Craigslist that he didn’t actually own may have more victims.
Michael Garduno, 25, of Santa Ana, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of grand theft and a warrant from Newport Beach, and is being held on $100,000 bail, Santa Ana police officials said. He is set to make his first court appearance Friday.READ MORE: LA City Council To Vote Tuesday On Ghost Gun Ban
Detectives say Garduno would meet with victims interested in high-end vehicles advertised via Craigslist, claiming to be authorized to sell the cars, which were in fact owned by various local auto dealers and were for sale on their lots.
In one incident, Garduno allegedly listed a 2013 Audi S5 for sale on Craigslist for $9,000. The vehicle was in fact listed for sale for $38,995 at the Audi South Coast dealership in the Santa Ana Auto Mall Drive. Police say Garduno claimed the dealership was selling the vehicle for him on consignment.READ MORE: LA Special Counselor To Plead Guilty To $2.2M LADWP Kickback Scheme, Bribing LADWP Officials
After corresponding via text messages about the vehicle, Garduno met with the victim on Jan. 12 at the Auto Mall with instructions to test drive the car with an Audi salesman, but not to disclose that he was interested in driving it, police said. After the test drive, Garduno – who wore a white polo shirt with a BMW logo — and the victim met at the Crevier BMW lot, where he handed Garduno $9,000 in cash and followed him into the showroom, according to police.
Once inside, Garduno ran away from the victim, who then discovered Garduno was not affiliated with the dealership, according to detectives.
Garduno is suspected of a similar theft in Newport Beach, in which he allegedly stole $15,000 from a victim interested in purchasing another Audi.MORE NEWS: Undisclosed Forensic Evidence Found In Search For Heidi Planck
Detectives say they believe there may be additional victims of similar crimes. Anyone with information or who believes they are a victim can call Santa Ana police Detective Duane Greaver at (714) 245-8362.