The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 5, 2013

‘Craig’s List sting’ nets GPS, phones, cash

By Budd McLaughlin
bud@athensnews-courier.com

ATHENS —

Citing the Latin phrase “caveat emptor,” Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said investigators made a “Craig’s List sting” and arrested two Athens people on theft and drug charges.

Ashley Leigh West, 20, was charged with theft by deception and Lucas George Haney, 23, faces a charge of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

Blakely said a 16-year-old girl answered a Craig’s List ad and bought a “Straight Talk” phone for $120. However, when she got the phone it wouldn’t activate and, Blakely said, she and her mother filed a report.

Investigators then set up a sting by searching for and finding the same phone on Craig’s List and making contact with a seller.

The sheriff said when they met in a store parking lot, the car, man and woman fit the description provided in the police report by the mother and daughter.

In the vehicle were several GPSs and phones, Blakely said. “They were apparently stolen from a store.”

After West conceded to a search of a home on Alabama 99, Blakely said investigators found GPSs, guns, a small amount of marijuana, prescription drugs without a prescription and $9,900 in cash.

He said they also found ledgers where “she had been keeping excellent records.”

Investigators are going through the ledgers, he said, trying to find where the phones came from, whether West and Haney allegedly stole them or if someone else did.

“You’d think buying a $200 phone for $120 would have raised a red flag,” Blakely said.  “Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.”