Craigslist puppy ad scams people out of thousands; suspect may be from Thomasville

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Dozens of people are looking for answers after being scammed by a Craigslist ad claiming to sell purebred puppies.

The ad has popped up in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The suspect may actually be from Thomasville. Police tell FOX8 they’ve already received a few calls from people who fell for the scam.

A few weeks ago Sarah Silkwood saw an ad on Craigslist for Cane Corso puppies. Sarah says she contacted the seller and paid $1,250 upfront for a puppy. Then the seller stopped answering.

“I had my brother and two friends with different area codes reach out and the same puppy that I purchased was offered to them,” Silkwood said.

She lives in South Carolina and started using fake identities to contact the seller without him knowing it was her. She says when she tried this, the suspect would instantly respond.

“He’ll still talk if you pretend to be someone else to try and sell them, so he’s still doing it,” Silkwood said.

She started digging and found similar ads with the same contact information in different cities and states.

“Then I went on his Facebook, and all the pages he follows and likes are of these high-end breeds that he’s selling," Silkwood said.  "As soon as I sent that to him...he deactivated his Facebook."

She traced the suspect back to an old address in Thomasville. After posting a warning in a Thomasville Facebook group, dozens of people reached out to her.

“There’s just tons and tons of people and he’s doing French Bulldogs and those are $4,000-$5,000 dogs, so who knows how much money he’s got,” Silkwood said.

She’s in contact with several police departments in North and South Carolina.

Silkwood says she reverse-searched some of the images and videos the suspect was using and found the kennels that held the dogs. She reached out to them to tell them the dog's pictures are being used for the scam.

FOX8 did some digging into the suspect’s past and he’s been charged with conspiracy, worthless check, obtaining property by false pretenses and larceny.

The charges came from Surry, Randolph and Davidson county.

He also spent time in the Guilford County jail.

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