WORCESTER (CBS) – Worcester Police say they are trying to find out how widespread a rental scam that uses the web site Craigslist is.
They say the case in which they arrested an accused scam artist was a “real shocker” to the real owner of a home falsely advertised for rent.
The place is a spacious house with ample yard near Worcester’s Vernon Hill section. It’s vacant but it’s not for rent.
“The woman who owned the property explained that she, never once, had the property up for rent,” said Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst.
He explained that last Wednesday, a woman looking for a home to rent found one on Craigslist and called a man named Jared who represented himself as the broker.
“They met there on Wednesday. He had keys to the property, gave a showing of the property.”
Sgt. Hazelhurst said the woman liked what she saw and the man posing as the broker asked for first and last month’s rent, about $2100, which the woman did not have on her. So they agreed to meet the next day at the Lincoln House of Pizza where she would pay him.
She went back to the home to give it one more look and the actual owner happened to be driving by.
“When she pulled in the driveway, she approached the woman and asked her what she was doing and she explained to the owner she was about to rent the property and that was the first time the owner heard that,” said Sgt. Hazelhurst.
So the women called the police but kept the appointment to meet with the man.
Detectives showed up in their place and found the 27-year-old man at a table with a receipt book that had the address of the home in it and the amount he was about to receive, so he was arrested and charged with larceny as well as breaking and entering in the daytime and related offenses.
He was later released on personal recognizance.
Police say they found other Worcester properties he had listed next to the name Jared but his real name is Danny Moura. WBZ went to his apartment but there was no answer.