We all know that some criminals (dare I say most?) aren’t the brightest of the bunch. But coming across this story this morning had me shaking my head. But it also gives me a chance to touch on the subject of meeting people to make a private sale. And yes, we have covered this before here, but stories like help provide keep concepts like situational awareness fresh in our minds. We all lead busy lives and can use a reminder every once in a while.
This story comes out of Charleston, SC, via Live 5 News, where a man was arrested after robbing another man of his AR-15 that he had arranged to purchase.
And before we get to the story, I want to point out that buying, selling, and trading firearms on Facebook and Instagram are against their policy. I would advise not to do it if you don’t want your account being terminated. There are other places online, such as ArmsList.com, that allow you to buy, sell, and trade firearms.
And now, back to the story. This past Saturday, Xavier Holmes arranged to purchase an AR-15 from a man he had met on Facebook. Mistake #1: The men met at a location specified by Holmes. I would highly suggest that if you are meeting a stranger for a private sale, meet in a neutral public place. Now that might be hard if you are buying or selling a firearm. It might not be the best idea to be waving around guns in a grocery store parking lot. I’ve talked about this before, but some police stations have designated spots for private sales. Just figure out a place that doesn’t leave you vulnerable like the man selling his AR-15 in this story.
Once inside the home, Holmes pulled a gun on the man selling the AR-15 and called for his buddies upstairs to come down. As the man being robbed heard footsteps, he bolted, leaving empty-handed. No AR-15 and no money.
This is where the stupidity comes in. The thief then posts a picture of himself holding the stolen rifle on Facebook. 🤦🏼♂️
Police also spoke with a witness that backed up the victim’s account. Police took Holmes into custody on Nov. 8, 2019. He is currently in jail facing charges including armed robbery, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and unlawful carrying of a handgun.
Now back to the subject of private sales. I started writing this article right before my lunch jiu-jitsu class yesterday. After class, I had a woman contact me about an exercise bike I had listed for sale on Facebook. Before agreeing to a price, I checked out her profile on Facebook. She was an older woman that ran a dog grooming business. Some quick investigating AKA Google Searches confirmed that the business was legit, and she was the owner.
We agreed to a price, and then I made sure that I set the meeting location. I picked a store that was closer to her than it was to me, but I also knew that there was a school nearby. I knew the school would be letting out around the time we were meeting, so there would be a good amount of people in vehicles as well as a police officer directing traffic. This might not be as safe as meeting at an actual police department, as I mention in the article Protecting Yourself In Private Sales: Concealed Carry And Face-to-Face Sales Tips. But I think someone would be less likely to commit a robbery around many witnesses and a police presence.
Next, we agreed to a time to meet. I showed up about 20 minutes early. This just gives me time to scope out the location, park where I want to park, and then wait for the buyer to show up. I parked in a position that I could drive straight out of the parking lot and get out of dodge if I needed to.
The sale went as planned, and I am $80 richer with a wife that is happy that I finally got the exercise bike out of the garage. Some may think that all of this planning is being paranoid, but it took me longer to write this article than it did to make sure I was prepared in case things went sideways.
I verified their identity, set the location, got there early, made sure I had an exit strategy, and of course, had my Glock 19 on me. I don’t call that being paranoid. I call it being prepared.