IRVINE, CA (January 28, 2014): On January 27, Irvine Police detectives arrested Arnold Min Baek (5-27-86) at a shopping center in Lake Forest. Baek is suspected of at least two Irvine Robberies in January in which the victims were lured to meetings after responding to Craigslist postings.
On Thursday, January 16, 2014, a Monterey Park couple was robbed during a meeting in Irvine arranged over Craigslist. The couple was carrying $15,000 in cash with the intention to purchase a 2008 Mercedes C300. The suspect, posing as the car owner, listed the vehicle for sale online and made arrangements to meet the victims at a residence in Irvine. When victims arrived, the suspect said the car was at a nearby carwash and tried to get them to drive there see the car. When the couple declined, he drew what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded the money.
A similar robbery occurred on Saturday, January 4. In that case, a man from La Habra Heights met the suspect at a different residence in Irvine expecting to purchase a Submariner Rolex watch the suspect listed online for $4,200. The suspect convinced the victim to drive him to a jeweler in order to have the watch appraised. However, once the victim was driving, the suspect produced a similarly described weapon and demanded the cash.
Detectives identified Baek after responding to a posting in which he listed a Mercedes for sale. Although a meeting was arranged for Tuesday, detectives were able to locate him Monday afternoon and take him into custody at a coffee shop where he was using his computer. At the time of the arrest, detectives recovered evidence supporting their suspicions, including a replica firearm similar to the one described by victims.
In both cases:
· The items were advertised on Craigslist.
· The photographs of items listed were pulled from a public, online source.
· A cash amount was agreed to in advance.
· Meetings were arranged at an exact residential address in an upscale neighborhood and the suspect emerged from the side of the home to meet the victims at their car.
· The suspect used a ruse to lure or attempt to lure the victim to drive him somewhere.
· The suspect robbed the victims with what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun.
· The suspect told the victims he needed the money because he has a child with special needs.
The Irvine Police Department recommends the following safety tips when choosing to conduct transactions online:
· Always meet in a well-populated, public place.
· Take someone with you and let others know where you are going.
· Be leery of deals that sound “too good to be true.”
· Never agree to large cash transactions prior to meeting the seller and confirming the legitimacy of the transaction.
· Carry a cell phone.
IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT
One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-7000 www.irvinepd.org
"Working In Partnership with the Community"
INTEGRITY - QUALITY SERVICE - ACCOUNTABILITY - RESPECT
Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has become a nationally recognized city, with a population of 250,384, spans 66 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Orange County Great Park – the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century. For more information, please visit cityofirvine.org.