A local Marine is saluting the Midwest City Police Department after helping track down his stolen pickup.
The Midwest City resident posted his truck for sale on Craigslist a couple weeks ago and found a taker. The alleged buyer agreed to pay $37,000 for the 2015 Chevy Silverado, by wiring the money to the Marine’s account at Navy Federal Credit Union.
The two parties made the transaction on a Friday evening. A few days later, the Marine contacted the man after the funds didn’t come through. The alleged buyer agreed to resend the money, ultimately providing another fraudulent account.
“There was verification at the moment on Friday that the account was good,” said Midwest City Police Detective Kyle Crusoe said. “And we know Friday’s business is done on Saturday. And Saturday’s business is done on Monday. So when this hit Monday, that’s when the flags came up.”
Maj. Ryan Cohen, Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Recruiting in Oklahoma, and the local Marine contacted the Midwest City Police Department about the incident. Crusoe later spoke with the suspect on the phone and told him they were prosecuting the case and the vehicle would be reported stolen.
Crusoe’s message worked. The suspect agreed to surrender the vehicle. He left the truck at a hotel in Frisco, Texas, and hid the keys and title nearby. Local police found the stolen truck and impounded it until Midwest City police arrived on the evening of Aug. 11.
“I didn’t say one curse word, I just told him this is what we were going to do,” Crusoe said.
The police were able to return the vehicle to the owner, but were not able to locate and arrest the suspect.
“When they (thieves) are under that type of operation, everything they will tell you is fraudulent,” Crusoe said.
The Marines showed their appreciation for Crusoe and local police last Thursday. Maj. Cohen presented Crusoe and Chief Brandon Clabes with honorary coins.
“This coin signifies a lot of blood and life left on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2010,” said Maj. Cohen, a Silver Star recipient.
Maj. Cohen again thanked Crusoe and said the vehicle theft would’ve placed huge financial burden on the Marine and his family.
“The bottom line is Crusoe came in and saved the day,” Maj. Cohen said. “We got him on the phone with the suspect and because of what he said and how he said, the bad guy got so scared that he ditched the vehicle.”
Crusoe said they rarely recover stolen property in these types of cases, especially when it involves an online buyer. He urged people to use caution when buying and selling items.
“This can happen to elderly people, this can happen to young married couple, I mean I had my identity compromised at Lake Eufaula,” he said. “And I investigate white collar crime. It was an experience and I’m just thankful it turned out the way it did for this young Marine.”