There are few things in this world stronger than a mother's intuition.
Twenty-year-old San Francisco Bay Area resident Jeremy Jenkins learned that the hard way after a scheme to take advantage of a young man selling his car on Craigslist went badly awry.
On Monday, Jenkins answered the posting of a 26-year old man seeking a buyer for his 1998 Ford Mustang. Jenkins allegedly met the victim at a train station in Daly City, just south of San Francisco. As the pair took the car out for a test drive, Jenkins removed a convincing handgun replica out of a duffel bag and ordered the victim to cover his head with a pillowcase and get into the backseat.
Jenkins wanted the title to the Mustang, but the victim claimed it was at home and called his mother asking her to bring it to where they were parked. The victim's mom sensed something was wrong and notified the police. After a few minutes, Jenkins forced the victim to call his mother again.
By the time Jenkins was reportedly holding the phone up to the victim's ear and forcing him to talk, police were already at his mother's home and able to discern that a kidnapping was in progress.
The authorities had the victim's mother set up a meeting with Jenkins. However, instead of getting the car's pink slip, Jenkins got arrested. The San Mateo Country Daily Journal reported that, upon his arrest, Jenkins told officers he had made "a stupid mistake."
He is now facing felony counts of carjacking, robbery and kidnapping during a carjacking. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Jenkins was denied bail and remains in custody for a preliminary hearing on May 7. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
"We get crimes stemming from Craigslist posts with some regularity," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Huffington Post. "Although we haven't really noticed much of an increase over the last few years."
Wagstaffe recalled a series of incidents last year when a man posted on the popular, San Francisco-based online message board that he had iPads for sale and, when people met him to make a purchase, he would steal their money.
On Craigslist's website, the company offers some tips on ways to stay safe when meeting someone for the first time through an interaction on Craigslist. Suggestions include insisting on meeting in a public place, telling a friend or family member where you're going, taking a cell phone along, having a friend accompany you, exercising extra caution when buying or selling expensive items and, most of all, trusting your instincts.
As one Daly City mom proved, those instincts could save someone's life.
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