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August 21, 2013

Craigslist Would-Be Robber Gets 13 Years

In November last year the Desert Hot Springs Police Special Enforcement Team arrested Darius Mark Anthony Griffin for attempted robbery in Desert Hot Springs. He was accused of using a Craigslist ad to get people to bring cash to a location in Desert Hot Springs to buy a (probably fictional) used BMW. When they showed up, he would try to rob them. He actually failed at robbing his victims twice and they reported the crimes to the police. Yesterday Mr. Griffin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Desert Hot Springs man pleads guilty to Craiglist robbery attempts

INDIO — A Desert Hot Springs man pleaded guilty Tuesday to trying to rob two people who showed up to buy a car he advertised for sale on Craigslist and also admitted a separate prostitution-related charge.

Darius Mark Anthony Griffin, 22, entered his plea to a pair of felony attempted robbery counts for which he will be sentenced to 13 years in prison, and one count of trafficking a person under 18, court records show.

He will be sentenced to two years in prison in that case, in which he was also originally charged with pimping and pandering a person under 16, according to court records.

Griffin was originally charged with 14 felony counts in the Desert Hot Springs case. The counts to which he didn't plead guilty in both cases are expected to be dismissed at his October 1 sentencing hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Griffin was arrested in connection with the attempted robberies November 10, 2012, in the 12500 block of Miracle Hill Road in Desert Hot Springs.

He had posted an ad to sell a 2000 BMW 328i, and on November 6, one potential buyer showed up at the Miracle Hill address with $3,250 in cash and was ambushed by a masked robber, who emerged from behind an apartment building with a handgun and demanded the money, Desert Hot Springs police Commander Dan Bressler said.

He said the victim managed to escape without surrendering the cash.

On November 7, Griffin agreed to meet another potential buyer, also at the Miracle Hill address.

"The victim saw two black males talking with each other. One walked past him and the other approached with a beanie over his face and started yelling at the victim to hand over the money," Bressler said. "When the victim refused, the suspect pulled out a handgun and tried to open the victim's door. The suspect was also trying to shoot the victim, but the gun appeared to malfunction."

The would-be car buyer got away without losing any cash and called 911. Police soon identified Griffin as the suspect, according to Bressler, who said further investigation led detectives to believe Griffin "would be attempting another robbery based on the same Craigslist ad he used previously."

Officers began watching the area and soon saw Griffin leave his residence and walk toward the Miracle Hill location.

"When officers saw him put the beanie over his head, they attempted to take him into custody. Griffin tried to run but was quickly captured," Bressler said. "As he ran, he threw a loaded handgun and the beanie to the ground."

Griffin was on probation for other felonies at the time of his arrest, Bressler said.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Public Safety | permalink | August 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

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