It’s always a risk to meet someone through Craigslist. But very few people who use the popular website expect to be robbed at gunpoint.
That's exactly what police say happened to one man who answered a Craigslist ad from Jonathan Batchelor. The man, who did not want to be identified, says Batchelor, 36, offered to sell him an Apple iPhone 4S.
“I always ask people to meet up in a public place like a mall or coffee shop like Starbucks,” said the man.
At the last minute however, police say Batchelor changed the meeting place from a CVS at a busy intersection to the parking lot of an IKEA warehouse in a secluded industrial park in Westampton Township. According to investigators, Batchelor claimed he worked there and the victim believed his story, meeting him at the warehouse on Jan. 24.
“It was like they were conducting a normal transaction in the beginning,” said Det. Sgt. Roger Rogers of the Westampton Township Police Department. “They shook hands and he asked to see the phone.”
Rather than showing him the iPhone however, the victim says Batchelor pulled out a gun and robbed him of his $800 iPhone 5 instead.
“He just opened the door and ran with my phone,” said the man.
Police managed to track Batchelor down to his Westampton home by looking through his Craigslist records. They arrested him Wednesday morning, charging him with armed robbery, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and other related offenses.
Police also suspect Batchelor is responsible for an attempted robbery involving another buyer he met through Craigslist. According to police, Batchelor tried to rob the victim at the same Ikea warehouse parking lot.
“I’m pretty happy that he’ll be locked up,” said the victim. “He won’t do it to other people.”
Batchelor was lodged into the Burlington County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.