Thief Targeting Facebook Marketplace Postings

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 15:42:11-04

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office is warning people about a thief who is taking vehicles for test drives and then never coming back. They say he responded to ‘For Sale’ postings on Facebook Marketplace pretending to be an interested buyer.

Facebook Marketplace is a wildly popular way to sell your stuff online, but it could also make you vulnerable to thieves.

James Williams, a recent victim of the thief, said that he was trying to sell a motorcycle when the thief stole it.

"He lied to me like a dog. And you know he had all the intentions in the world of stealing the motorcycle," said Williams.

Williams told LEX 18 that a man, who police identified as Michael L. Johnson, contacted him and asked him to see the bike at Williams’ Laurel County home.

"He was nice and I was nice to him, and I just thought he was a good guy," said Williams.

Williams said that when Johnson showed up this weekend, he asked to test drive the motorcycle he was selling for $1,200. 

"He sat on the motorcycle, I started it up and he listened that it run. And I said, ‘yes you can but ride it right here in my driveway because it doesn’t have tags and insurance on it’. My driveway is about 2000 foot long, so he rode it up my driveway and made a right turn and kept going," said Williams.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputies tell LEX 18 that they think this isn’t the first time that Johnson has done this. They claim that he also responded to a Facebook Marketplace ad for a car and then stole it.