Last week in Hillsborough, Florida a slick Craigslist con-artist, posing as a watch buyer, took advantage of an innocent and unsuspecting Rolex watch seller. The victim, Joe Colbert of Valrico, has been trading Rolex watches for years and says, “If you buy them right, you can sell them and make a profit.”
That was exactly what was on his mind when he advertised a $6900 Rolex watch on Craigslist a couple weeks ago in hopes of finding a serious buyer. What he got instead was the last thing he expected.
Colbert, who’s sold several luxury watches in the past without problems, said that he thought nothing of inviting the Craigslist customer to his golf club repair shop to view and possibly purchase the luxury watch. “I’ve sold a couple watches on there and never had an issue“, said Colbert.
The meeting seemed to have been going quite well with the mysterious buyer, even stepping outside briefly together to show the potential customer’s girlfriend the watch, “never thinking anything of it”, Colbert told WFLA. The customer ultimately decided not to purchase the watch and left, but it was later that day that in retrospect, Colbert realized he was taken advantage of.
When Colbert returned home later that day he removed the Rolex watch from the box to put it back into his safe when he noticed that the bracelet was making a slight rattling noise. “I knew it wasn’t correct”, Colbert said, “I took a look at the serial number on the inside of the watch and noticed it was the incorrect serial number.” Sick to his stomach, Colbert immediately felt something was off and diverted immediately to his surveillance video.
After carefully reviewing his surveillance videos, Colbert noticed that even prior to stepping outside the door the thief was shuffling in his pockets. It was at that moment Colbert believes he was being taken advantage of. “I knew that you know something had happened. It had been switched. It had been stolen,”, says Colbert.
He believes that the thief was brazen enough to have switched the watches right in front of him, and although the police department is on the lookout for the thief, Colbert has more than accepted the fact that the likelihood of him seeing the watch ever again is slim to none.
Colbert has absolutely no interest in a suit against Craigslist, just thankful that the situation did not escalate into something much more dangerous. “What would have happened? Was he armed?”, Colbert reflected.
The only way to absolutely confident when you’re buying or selling a luxury watch, such as a Rolex, is to deal directly with a professional watch buyer who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy. It’s very important to be extremely careful and fully aware of the multi-billion dollar a year counterfeit business of selling fakes and replicas, and the best way to do that is to that is do work with luxury watch experts.