A 22-year-old man suspected in two armed robberies was arrested Friday night after allegedly scamming his second victim via Craigslist in as many days.
Lake Forest man Jacob Michael Shablo allegedly placed an ad on Craigslist advertising a laptop for sale but demanded cash at gunpoint from potential buyers when they met, according to police.
At 9:50 p.m. Thursday, a 48-year-old man and 27-year-old woman drove to the 23400 block of Red Robin Lane in Lake Forest to meet a man who said he would sell them a laptop, police said.
When they pulled up, a man emerged from between two nearby residences with a handgun and demanded money.
When the pair told the man that they only intended to inspect the computer and had not brought cash, he "panicked and ran," said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
Investigators identified the suspect as Shablo and secured an arrest warrant for him Friday. However, deputies were unable to track him down at known residences, Amormino said.
That evening, deputies responded to a call at about 9:30 p.m. about a suspicious vehicle in the same area as the attempted Thursday night robbery.
But when deputies contacted the person in the vehicle, he told them that he had just been robbed at gunpoint by a man who he believed planned to sell him a computer.
The victim told deputies that he had responded to a Craigslist ad from a man claiming to want to sell a laptop.
When the victim arrived at the redezvous point, the man he met pulled out a handgun and demanded cash, he told police.
Deputies searched the area and found Shablo at about 10 p.m. in the area of Lake Center Drive and Boeing Avenue. He was placed under arrest on suspicion of armed robbery.
Shablo was jailed on $100,000 bail.
Police recovered a handgun and a "large amount" of cash, Amormino said. It's possible there may be more victims of Shablo's alleged scam, he added. Anyone who has been a victim or has more information about the case is asked to call the sheriff's tipline at 714-647-7000.
To prevent similar crimes, anyone planning to meet a stranger to exchange goods should meet in a well-lit public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant, Amormino added.