Society

Three Deaths Related To People Selling Their Dogs On Craigslist

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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A dog breeder in De Kalb County, Georgia, who advertised an English Bulldog puppy for sale on Craigslist, told police he was forced to shoot one of the would-be buyers who arranged a meeting in self defense, according to Fox8Live. The incident occurred just after midnight on Friday in a subdivision near Stone Mountain.

The victim remains unidentified but investigators say they believe he is the man involved in four recent robbery attempts related to responses to on-line sales ads. 

The temptation of an offer $500 above the $2,000 asking price overcame the uneasiness Walter Gonzales 40, said he initially felt when a prospective buyer wanted him to bring the English Bulldog puppy to an address in Winder, a city in the metropolitan Atlanta area, at midnight on Friday. His discomfort caused Gonzalez to bring along Salvador Burgos, 32, and Burgos brought a firearm.

 Gonzalez and Burgos were standing outside the residence 5000 block of Fairforest Drive near South Hairston Road in Winder where the meeting had been arranged, when the prospective buyers arrived, the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports. Gonzalez then showed the English Bulldog puppy to the man who had made the purchase arrangement.

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 At the same time, the Winder man’s companion reportedly approached the car where Burgos was sitting, pulled out a handgun and ordered him to exit the vehicle.

Burgos told police that, instead, he pulled out a.40-caliber Glock and fired, killing the man.  The victim’s companion fled and is still at large, according to the AJC.

Mekka Parish, a DeKalb County Police Department spokeswoman, said Gonzalez told her it was “kind of fishy” that the supposed purchaser wanted them to deliver the dog the same night he called and they did not want to do it.

The buyer persuaded them to meet with him at night, claiming he was a tractor-trailer driver and worked irregular hours, Parish said.

After the shooting, Gonzalez and Burgos drove a short distance away and called 911, police said. They told police they left the scene with the bulldog because they feared the other man that was with the suspect would return, according to the Atlantic Journal Constitution.

After officers and emergency responders arrived, they remained on the scene during the investigation and later, according to the police report, they were questioned at police headquarters.

“It is unlikely that Burgos or Gonzalez will be charged in the man's death,” Parish told Fox8Live.

SERIES OF CRIMES RELATED TO ONLINE ADVERTISING

The DeKalb County incident involving the English Bulldog is not the first report of crimes involving local Georgia residents who were advertising or responding to Craigslist or other online ads.

Officials now believe there are four additional cases that are connected to this deceased suspect, Parish said. All of the crimes occurred at the same location.

Police said that at least one of the victims had met the deceased suspect on Craigslist and two victims did not report the robberies until the latest incident was aired on television news on Friday.

A Cumming man was also contacted regarding an English Bulldog he had advertised for sale just one day earlier, police say. They said they have identified the deceased gunman as the person who lured Gustavo Medina-Ramirez, 35, the owner of an English Bulldog to the same house in Winder, according to the Atlantic Journal Constitution.

Mr. Medina-Ramirez told police that when the “pseudo-buyer” was examining the dog he took a phone call and then pulled a black handgun, according to the report. The man told him he was taking the dog and left through the back of the house. Medina-Ramirez told officers that he quickly left and called the police, the report states.

Captain Steve Fore told reporters that Bulldog is still missing.

On Jan.19, Bud Runion posted an ad on Craigslist wanting to buy a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible. He was contacted by a man believed to be Ronnie Adrian Towns, 28, (aka Ronnie "Jay" Towns.) Bud and his wife, June, went to Telfair County to make the purchase.

On Monday, the bodies of the Marietta couple were found; their car was immersed in a body of water, according to the Telfair County Sheriff’s office. Autopsy results showed that each was shot in the head with a small caliber gun.

The Telfair County Sheriff's office issued warrants for the arrest of Ronnie Adrian Towns on Sunday afternoon, Fox8Live reported.

Towns turned himself into police Monday morning on charges of making false statements to investigators and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception.

Towns has now been charged with murder. He appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where his bond was denied. 

SAFE SPACE FOR ONLINE SALES

The Smyrna Police Department in Cobb County announced a new program on Thursday, designed to keep both sellers and shoppers safe if they wish to engage in online transactions, Fox8Live reported.

This agency announced it will allow residents buying and selling items through Craigslist, Facebook, and other websites to meet either in their headquarters' parking lot or lobby.

The program is called "Operation Safe Sale."

Sources: AJC, Fox 8 Live, (2), (3) / Photo Credit: Provided, Fox8Live