SAN JACINTO (CBSLA.com) — A mother of four is being credited Wednesday for helping to put a would-be scam artist behind bars.
In a story that is Only On 2, Tom Wait said the suspect set up an elaborate scheme intended to scam people into thinking he had a home for rent in San Jacinto.
Lauren Sanchez, the mother of four, said the man had keys to the home and gave her a tour
“I just couldn’t believe it but I knew when it happened, I wanted to get him caught,” she said.
Sanchez knew the deal to rent out the quaint house was just too good to be true. But the guy who tried to rip her off did his best to sell her on the lease.
“He actually called references and everything, pretending that he was really, you know renting the house out – he even had an application,” she said.
It started with a Craigslist ad just a few days ago – house for rent. Sanchez called the number and made an appointment with the supposed owner – Errich Durant. She came to the house in San Jacinto and she says Durant gave her a tour.
“He was already inside with the door open when we arrived. I immediately thought this guy was shady. He didn’t answer any of the questions right – like when he bought the house, didn’t match to what is said online,” she said.
Knowing something was up, Lauren called the number on the for sale sign in the front yard. The rightful owners knew nothing about Durant and confirmed the property was not for rent. But that didn’t explain how Durant had keys to the property.
“I didn’t understand that either – I kept telling them, how does he have keys? I don’t get it. And they were like there’s a lockbox on the side of the house,” Sanchez said.
But the lockbox was missing and Sanchez then noticed the front door looked like someone tried to pry it open.
When Durant sent her a text telling her to bring cash and the house was hers, she called the police and they set up a mini sting and allegedly caught Durant in the act.
“In the future you have to ask for ID,” Sanchez said, “and have proof that he’s the owner.”
As of this evening, Durant is still locked up and facing fraud and burglary charges as well as providing false information.
But the question remains, on July 1st, will other victims show up believing the house is theirs to rent?