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Suspect busted for iPhone thefts, fake bills

March 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A warning to Internet users: Be very careful, if you're buying or selling high-tech gear on popular websites.

A suspect was arrested in connection with a website scam targeting iPhones and their users. But there could be more.

Police allege Robert Gonzales, 20, was scamming people through the website Craigslist with his focus on iPhones.

"A few months ago our detectives started noticed that they were getting a lot of reports about people getting ripped off going through Craigslist," said Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale.

In one case, Gonzales is accused of arranging a meeting in a public place to buy an iPhone from a victim. But instead of paying, he grabbed the phone and took off.

Detectives allege in other cases iPhones were bought from victims using counterfeit money.

"What they were hoping to do was lure out the person that they felt was most responsible for all these thefts, specifically targeting the iPhone," said Nightengale.

Investigators turned to Craigslist, hoping to contact the suspect.

Undercover detectives met the suspect posing as a buyer looking for an iPhone.

Police arrested Gonzales. Investigators allege he had a stolen iPhone on him, and they found counterfeit money after searching his Anaheim home.

The case serves as a reminder to be careful if buying or selling through Craigslist or similar websites. Police say if you meet someone in person, never go alone.

"Make sure you check out that piece of property, make a phone call on it, check the serial numbers, look for those things that show they're legitimate before you exchange it," said Nightengale.

Police are concerned there may be other victims. If you have information about the case or the suspect, you're asked to call Garden Grove Police (714) 741-5800.