INDIANAPOLIS - Within hours of a series of crimes in downtown Indianapolis, police say stolen loot ended up for sale on Craigslist, leading to a fast arrest.
State Capitol Police logged onto Craigslist hours after several cars were broken into at the White River State Park.
According to court records released Friday, officers spotted at least two laptops that had been stolen from one car, so they posed as an interested buyer.
That led to handcuffs being placed on the suspected ringleader, who was known as “Ebay” to his associates, police said.
“I think the police did a pretty good job pretty quickly,” park visitor Melanie Cornelius of Greenwood said Friday during an afternoon walk.
“Very impressive police work. I guess that’s how we all hope it happens each time, but it rarely does. But that’s very impressive,” said park visitor Jeff Smith.
Police arrested Broderick V. Bullock Jr., 28, of Indianapolis, on felony charges of theft and receiving stolen property.
"We were able to meet with this seller, determine that the items were the same as what was taken from our victim, and then we continue the investigation that resulted in the arrest," Indiana State Police Capt. David Bursten said.
Bursten said the suspect was then linked to electronics that were stolen in car break-ins from at least three other Indianapolis locations, as well as crimes in Carmel.
Police said all of the crimes involved windows being smashed, with electronics ending up for sale on the Internet.
"We have people leaving things of value in their car and then the person comes up, bashes out the window. Happens very quickly. Everything’s taken within a matter of seconds. It’s not even minutes. It’s less than a minute," Bursten said.
Court records indicate that one person involved in selling some of the stolen goods ended up cooperating with police. Those documents also show that police confiscated a van that was used to transport some of the stolen goods.
The two laptops that led to the break in this case were among two digital camera flashes, two digital camera lenses, two iPads, an iPhone and two purses that were taken from a single car. Police said the victim was a visitor from Kentucky.
The crimes caught Smith, a park visitor from Florida, off guard.
"Total surprise, you know. We never thought that at all. We felt really comfortable, safe here," Smith said.
Bursten said anyone who accidentally buys something on Craigslist that turns out to be stolen can find themselves in a financial pinch.
"First of all, they’re going to lose that item that they bought. They’re also going to have lost the money that they paid for it because, usually, even if an arrest is made, that money has been long spent," he said.
Jail records show Bullock posted bail last week after a felony court appearance.