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Philadelphia Teen Arrested In Connection To Craigslist Rental Scam

(credit: The Philadelphia Police Department)

(credit: The Philadelphia Police Department)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Police say a suspect wanted in a rental scam is now under arrest.

19-year-old Sam Ferraro is accused of scamming six people out of $600 each.

Just hours after police announced a warrant out for the arrest of Ferraro police say they got him.

Police say as part of their investigation, detectives set up a sting and arranged to meet with Ferraro at the corner of 23rd Street and Passyunk Avenue Friday evening. Police say when Ferraro showed up, he was arrested without incident.

At least a half dozen people responded to the Craigslist ad offering a room for rent along the 2000 block of South 20th Street.

Police Captain Laurence Nodiff says Ferraro posted the ad.

“He met each of the prospective renters at that location, showed them the property because he was a former renter himself of that property.”

Ferraro allegedly asked for and received $600 from each victim. Nodiff says that is the last they saw or heard from the suspect.

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“They did not receive any follow up phone call from the offender. Then they started to get suspicious, were unable to do that and then came to the police.”

All the complaints were filed on May 4th, what the victims were told would be moving in day.

One of the victims wished to remain anonymous but told Eyewitness News, “He just enjoyed renovating properties that was his reason for renting. He said he wasn’t doing it for the money, he said he had the money.”

But according to Ferraro’s former house-mate, Ruth Rotinsulu, Ferraro didn’t own the property and he told their landlord he was moving out due to a job transfer.

Police call this case unfortunate because authorities say renters have the city’s website (www.phila.gov) to turn to for answers. Authorities say the website provides a simple step-by-step guideline to check on a property and to see who the owner is.

Capt. Nodiff said, “The site works well so we urge everyone to utilize that site to help legitimize who they’re doing business with.”

Police say there could be more victims and ask those victims to come forward.

In the meantime, police say Ferraro will be charged with various fraud-related offenses.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio; Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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