ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A man who said his livelihood was stolen two years ago, was able to get it back when he found an ad of his stolen goods online.
Other small businesses have been targeted as well, scammed out of thousands, when equipment they use to run a business, was taken from them.
Turntables, audio gear, lighting, speakers, microphones, all of it stolen from an Albuquerque man's car two years ago, was finally found.
"He told police he finally had enough money and he was looking to start recouping some of the items that he had had stolen, so he was looking on Craigslist, found an ad on Craigslist of exactly what he wanted," recalled Celina Westervelt, spokesperson for the Santa Fe Police Department.
Police said when the victim came across a picture of a turntable for sale, he knew the gear was his. He contacted Albuquerque Police, who in turn worked with Santa Fe Police, since the items were for sale in Santa Fe.
"We could verify that with some of the stickers that he had on his equipment that he put there on purpose, he also had the serial numbers," said Westervelt.
Santa Fe Police set up an undercover meeting with the seller, 36-year-old Alfredo Leyba. Westervelt said Leyba was wanting $500 for more than $10,000 worth of items.
Leyba was arrested and charged with transferring and receiving stolen property. Police said he's also a felon, and had several guns and other suspicious items.
Westervelt said the victim was overjoyed to get his stuff back, and excited to get to work again.
But others like him, Joseph Wiltgen for instance, are still waiting for their happy ending.
"I was kind of hopeful that it would be him, but unfortunately the photo didn't represent the gentleman I had rented to," said Wiltgen, when shown a photo of Leyba.
Wiltgen and another victim were scammed out of thousands by a man who told him his name was Martin Montes. Wiltgen and another man rented equipment to him, tables, chairs, even a sound stage for what appeared to be a big event.
"The gentleman had a huge sound stage set up, he had catering equipment set up, so in our eyes it looked like it was a legit business and then to come back the next day and have everything gone, was heartbreaking," said Wiltgen.
Wiltgen lost nearly $8,000 in the scam. He still searches online, hoping he too might find an ad for his items someday.
"Who knows, it might happen, it would be great to get it all back, but - not going to hold my breath," he said.
Although Wiltgen took a big loss, he's still in the rental business. He said the other man whose items were stolen in the same case, appears to have went out of business because of it.
In addition to the stolen property charge, Leyba was also charged for being a felon in possession of guns. Police said they're still investigating whether he actually stole the DJ equipment, and if any of the weapons he had are stolen.
Dean Staley and Mark Ronchetti with your evening headlines and forecast.
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