Local man looking to buy BMW off Craigslist targeted in apparent scam

Jerry Thong assaulted at Los Angeles meetup

SAN DIEGO - A Bay Terraces man said he was the victim of an online scam that could have had a deadly ending.

Jerry Thong was shopping for an early Christmas present for his fiancé. He went on Craigslist to find her dream car, a 2007 BMW 745i. He found it and began texting the man named "Mike" who posted the ad.

"The fact that it had low mileage, a clean title and everything works. You know, I was like, 'Wow.' I was sold," said Thong.

Thong showed 10News a series of text messages between himself and Mike, which showed the two negotiating the price. The car had been listed for $10,000, but Thong managed to get Mike to lower it to $7,000.

Thong withdrew the cash from his savings account and drove to a pre-arranged location with a friend.

"He claimed that it was in Hollywood, you know, but when we got there it was not Hollywood, it was somewhere else," Thong told 10News reporter Allison Ash.

It turns out the address was in Inglewood, more than 15 miles from Hollywood. When Thong and his friend got there, a man waved them over.

"He told us to pull into the other driveway and right when I pulled into the other driveway I got out of my car, and that's when those four guys bum-rushed me with their guns to my head."

Thong said he was pistol whipped as the men demanded money, and according to Thong, one of them told him, "If I don't get the money, I'm [going to] blow your brains out."

Thong handed over the money, and the men took off through an alley. By the time police arrived, they were long gone.

Thong told his story in the hope that it would keep other people from going through the trauma he's had to deal with.

"If you come across a deal that it too good to be true, then it probably is," he said.

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