By on June 27, 2016

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Note: This story originally appeared on Hooniverse.com. It is republished here with permission.

My mother used to have a very nice 2005 Acura TL. For almost nine years she used that car to commute from her home in Edgewater, NJ to work in the Bronx. Those of you that have not traveled between New Jersey and New York over the George Washington Bridge, and further north over the Cross Bronx Expressway, should know that this may be the worst road in the United States. The bridge converges four highways into one. The traffic jams are constant, as is construction. Someone always breaks down or rear-ends someone else. Due to heavy truck traffic the pavement is extremely wavy. It’s bad, really bad.

The third generation Acura TL came standard with 17-inch wheels wrapped in 235/45-17 tires. The car handled very well right out of the box while retaining a ride that was comfortable. With a 270hp engine, it was a fun car to drive, even with the ever-present torque steer. The problem was that its wheel/tire combination did not resist road imperfections very well. Bubbled-up tires and bent wheels were the norm for my mom and many other TL owners. I did my best to ensure that she always had a good set of wheels and tires on the car, which meant frequent Craigslist searches.

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One day a friend who knew about my endless TL wheel searches sent me a Craigslist link that seemed perfect: brand new take-offs from a brand-new, base model, fourth generation, 2010 TL. Some dude probably upgraded to dubs on his new car and wanted to ditch those stockers. Brand new wheels and brand new tires, same backspacing, same bolt patter, because those things never change on same model cars — perfect!

I emailed the seller. We planned to meet on a Saturday, around 2 p.m. in Queens. At around noon the seller emailed me said he had to change it to 4:00 p.m.

This wasn’t a problem, as I had moved to Boston six years prior. I was back home in New Jersey for a weekend without my wife and kids. I was enjoying the area, my friends and family. I had all the time in the world and I was hanging out with my two best friends from high school, both serious car guys. When I say they’re serious car guys I mean they have all done engine swaps, all kinds of modifications, they drag raced, they are Gran Turismo champions, and actually have track driving experience. Like me, those guys live and breath cars. The three of us together are supreme car experts extraordinaire — in our minds, no one knows more and no one knows better.

Dude with tires, whose English is far from good, calls and says that something has come up and he won’t be able to meet until 7:00 p.m. To make up for the inconvenience, however, he is willing to drop the wheels off in New Jersey, near the exit from the Lincoln Tunnel. This was annoying, but fine, it saved me a trip into New York City. 7:00 p.m. in Weehawken it was.

Weehawken, near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, is somewhat of a busy area, especially on a Saturday evening when everyone is heading into Manhattan for a night out. There is a gas station there that has decent parking and a lot of light, but it’s always busy.

weehawken-gas-station-large

As 7:00 p.m. nears, wheel dude informed me that he is once again running late. I’m pissed now because I wasted the whole day waiting for him. My boy Vince, a jacked-up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master who may or may not have been raging by now, grabs my phone and goes off on the wheel dude. Wheel dude sounds nervous, apologizes, and says 10:00 p.m. for sure. My other buddy, a frequently-paranoid-but-always-ready-for-anything Marine, who also enjoys randomly raging at people, remains relatively calm and laughs at Vinny.

We decide to relax by going to a bar in nearby Hoboken. It was nice — nice views if you know what I mean — and it reminded us of when we used to hang out in this town during our high school and college years. We had a drink or two. Since Vinny and I were not driving, we had a few more.

11:00 p.m. rolled around. Wheel guy keeps giving us the run-around. At this point we find the whole thing hilarious and are willing to play this dude’s game just because we have nothing better to do. And we’re drunk-ish. And there are college chicks around us, three married guys in their thirties, but Hoboken does not seem as lively and rowdy as we remembered it in the 1990s.

At 1:00 a.m. the bars were beginning to empty out, which is strange, because I remember how this town used to go all night long. This wheel-selling mofo texts me that he is about to get into the Lincoln Tunnel. Halle-fucking-lujah!

We go to the gas station near the Lincoln Tunnel, but things are different there at 1:00 a.m. The gas station is closed, all the lights are off, and there is no one there. Not a soul. Even the traffic was lighter than I ever remembered it. And we’re drunk, except for the Marine dude who is just under the legal limit as per his own paranoid calculations. At this point we realize that this may not be the greatest idea we’ve ever had. But whatever, we are three pretty big guys and we can all fight if we need to — what’s the worst that can happen?

So we’re at the dark gas station, waiting. A beat-up white Dodge Caravan, similar to the one pictured below, with New York, plates quickly pulls in and stops. Not the brand new Acura TL we were expecting. They flash their high-beams, they flash back, as if this was a mob meet in a desert.

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A skinny Latin guy in his mid-twenties gets out of the driver’s door. He waves to us in a questionable manner, as if to ensure if we’re the ones here for… the deal. A younger guy gets out of the passenger side door. To us, three drunk idiots, this seems like something out of a movie. The two guys open the side sliding door. I look at Vince and I say “Well, let’s go, let’s look at those wheels.”

Paranoid Marine boy says, “You go check them out, I’ll be here, behind you. I got your back if something goes wrong.”

I look at paranoid Marine guy and ask, “Are you packin’ heat?”

“JUST GO!” he yelled back in a way that only a Marine can. Fine.

To our surprise, there was a twelve year old kid in the back of the minivan where the wheels were. At this point I chose not to question anything and just said hello to the kid.

Whatever, I’m here to look at the wheels and tires. Knowing that my boys have my back, I dove into the minivan with a flashlight. The wheels and tires were brand spankin’ new. Not a scratch on the wheels and the tires still had those little hairs on them. The tire size was 245/50-17 and not the 235/45-17 I was expecting.

Hmm. My drunken thinking was that Honda realized that everyone was bending their wheels on the third generation cars, so they upped the tire size, which makes sense as the new 2010 model is also heavier. They probably just changed the final drive of the transmission to make up for the difference. No issues, at worse my mom’s car will just be a little slower.

Of course at this point we were all questioning the origin of the wheels, but for the sake of this story let’s assume he was selling me the wheels off his own car, which he said he did not want to drive into the hood that is New Jersey. There was no way to know otherwise — it’s not like wheels have a VIN stamped into them. I had to take him on his word, and at this point I just wanted to have the whole thing over with. I offered him fifty dollars less than what he was asking, because Craigslist. He grimaced, but took it.

Vinnie and Marine boy threw the wheels into Marine boy’s SUV, I handed over the cash, we said our thank yous, and we all departed. As the three of us started driving away we burst into laughter about the whole thing. Then we high-fived each other for getting such an amazing deal on a set of wheels. Just like we did back in the day, we rolled those fools!!

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Marine boy droped off Vinny, and then me and the wheels off at my mother’s house. Good times, one day we’ll tell this story to our kids.

Little did we know, the story was not over.

The next morning, sober but tired, I jacked up my mom’s ’05 TL and removed a wheel. I grab one of my newly purchased wheels, put it on and…

…AND IT DOES NOT FIT!!! What! The Actual! Fuck!?

I screamed out loud in disbelief. A quick Google search resulted in finding this:

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For the fourth generation of the TL, Honda decided to change the wheel bolt pattern of the TL from 5×114.3 to 5×120. That bolt pattern has been used on their heavier vehicles, specifically the Ridgeline, MDX, Odyssey, and the Pilot.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” asked Vinny when I called him about my discovery.

“Nope, I couldn’t make this up”

“How the ‘F did we miss this!? We know EVERYTHING!!! The three of us are the supreme car experts extraordinaire!!”

“Right, we sure are,” I answered back, sighing.

hondaody_new_wheels

Obviously I had to sell those wheels. It took me five years later, almost to the week, to do that because life kept getting in the way. I met the buyer at the same Weehawken gas station and sold him the wheels for the same amount of money. I was by myself and I made sure that it happened in the middle of the day. I did not know that at the time, but those wheels are in surprising demand because people use them to replace the crummy, oddly-sized PAX wheels and flat tires that came on some models of the Honda Odyssey.

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75 Comments on “A Tale of Craigslist Wheels...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Do you know Rodney? He could have fit in this story too!

    I wouldn’t let someone d!ck me around like that though. Don’t got time for that. And I wonder where the rest of the bits from that Acura ended up. Tijuana, perhaps.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Having recently sold two vehicles on CL (in broad daylight in a decent part of town) I still couldn’t help but worry about who I was about to meet. Both times it ended up being totally normal, friendly folks who brought cash and were very pleasant to deal with.

    This weekend I went to look at a ’96 Maxima for a cheap beater (also found on CL), ended up in a bad part of town at a fly by night shop run by a Syrian guy and his son. Parked the 4Runner next to a cop car, there were some bums walking around nearby (liquor store across the street). Syrian dudes turned out to be nice guys, low pressure, chatted with them for a bit. Car was both in excellent cosmetic condition and okay mechanically (shot suspension, steering and brakes, like-new engine) but the musty interior smell immediately made me suspect a flood car. Part of me was sad to walk away from a totally rust free Maxima like that, all of the northern cars have nothing left of their radiator core supports and rear fenders are flapping. But it would have needed a full suspension rebuild to ride even halfway decent. Not to mention the smell and potential consequences in wiring that might manifest themselves months later.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m having the strangest sense of deja vu.

  • avatar
    maserchist

    As a wanna be customer of CL, I am distressed that selling 40 years worth of SnapOn tools & tool cabinets is going to a wee bit tougher than I had wished. Good thing that the tools will keep well all by themselves for 40 more years…

    • 0 avatar
      KevinC

      Sell them on Ebay. A good buddy was making a TON of cash for a while by going to local pawn shops in Miami and buying quality tools, often Snap-On, and reselling them on Ebay at huge profits. Seems that many of the pawn shop owners didn’t realize the value of some of what they had, and him being a former mechanic, he knew what stuff was worth and what he could get for it on Ebay.

      • 0 avatar
        TriumphDriver

        I’d agree with Kevin. There’s a lot of Snap-On stuff on eBay and it seems to turn over fairly quickly.
        I’m 62 and finally able to afford better than Craftsman, eBay is where I go to look for Snap-On or old Stanley woodworking tools.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    As a side point, I RARELY go into NYC, but I drive an SUV with all terrain tires when i do. Those streets are murder .

  • avatar
    sco

    Not to nitpick on a generally entertaining story, but the CL add says “Tire Size:245/50R17” and “Bolt pattern 5x120mm”. The seller might have been way less than punctual but he did deliver what promised.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I sell a lot of car/motorcycle stuff on kijiji as I find the clientele a *little* (but not much) better than CL. But every time I meet someone in a gas station or coffee shop parking lot to do the deal it always feels like a shady drug deal from a movie!

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Often times, with CL ripoffs, holdups, or scams, there’s two parties involved: The crooked seller-scammer; and the sheep waiting to be fleeced.

    The story was questionable from the start; it could have been true but just as likely could have been a lie. The first delay…that can be understood. Excrement happens.

    The second, third, and fourth; and then the midnight handover…negatory, good buddy. This picture’s not right. What, you couldn’t find the right kind of car to steal the wheels off?

    And then different size tires. He boosted a substitute in a frantic last minute. The kid was there likely as not to get sympathy from the cops – or perhaps the were all juvies and the kid was to prove it and drive it home.

    Marine buddy? I wouldn’t care if I had a whole platoon of them. This guy was going through to rip someone off…buyer and/or carjack victim. You mention the Marine was drinking lightly. If he was cold-stone sober, he’d have known that he’d be putting his own career on the line just being involved in the transfer of stolen goods.

    Hindsight is always 20/20; but I would have walked.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      This is exactly what happened IMO. I would have walked after the first delay. That’s the beauty of craigslist. Most of the time there’s an abundance of supply be it used cars or parts that I can be selective with who I deal with.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “My boy Vince, a jacked-up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master … My other buddy, a … Marine …”

    This is pathetic Jersey style purchase.

    One time I sold an old car on ebay. 2 Dominican guys from NY show up at my work location (which shortened their trip to my home by 40mi). I came packed with 2 pistols (just in case). They paid cash. At one point they short me $500. [I was determined to receive my cash at any cost.] One of them said, “$1000 is enough, OK?”. For which I said, “I strongly recommend you to pay full agreed amount and then I will let you go”. I think, they understood that my hand was near something bulging under my jacket and after a moment the guy said, “OK” and pulled another $500. All I was doing is making sure to keep them both in front of me.

    No need for Jiu-Jitsu and Marines.

    For the wheels… This year I purchased set off Highlander that 3 years younger than mine. I did checked all parameters upfront and I knew that it will fit. I am surprised that such experienced automotive specialists got burnt so badly.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      My take on the matter is that if you’re a civilian and you get yourself into a situation where you feel that firearms will be necessary, you’ve already made a serious error.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This.

        I’ve managed to go my whole life of 40 years, living only in big cities, without ever once wishing I had a firearm.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          My neighbor once told me a story that his son went to Philly, where he was mobbed and ended up with broken nose, ribs, and some other nasty stuff. The gang was never found. I think, he wishes his son had his gun with him.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Sorry to hear that. But pretty much everyone I’ve ever known who got mugged in America didn’t observe basic safety precautions. Stay where there are people, know any non-tourist area before you go there at night, be aware of who’s around you, move quickly and never show that you’re lost, run if you feel afraid (ideally into a business).

            Most of the mugging victims I know where walking along absorbed in their cell phones at a time like 1 in the morning. That’s really asking for trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I pretty much violated all of those recommendations while drunk in Prague at 1:30am. No issues with the locals but I did think I time traveled to East Germany for a while until I realized where I was.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            That doesn’t always work out either. Last week, a business owner was leaving his store when he was accosted by a robber. He reached for his gun, the robber reached for his, each got off a shot. The authorities took both mens remains to the same morgue.

            If you are going somewhere, and you think you need a firearm where you are going, make sure that where you are going is a gun range or a hunting location. If it isn’t, don’t go.

        • 0 avatar
          jerseydevil200

          agreed. 66 years for me.

    • 0 avatar

      “[I was determined to receive my cash at any cost.]”

      Let me get this right – you were willing to shoot and kill people, gun in each hand cowboy-style, because they tried to low-ball you at the time of purchase?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        This is definitely worrisome. I’ve taken a CCW with me when I have a lot of cash on me and/or going through a particularly troublesome part of town. But the gun isn’t there to “get your way,” it’s to protect you when someone is literally threatening your life. Jesus.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          My general rule is: If you’re to where you have to pull a firearm out…YOU HAVE LOST.

          Someone is going to have a hard time of it. At the least, arrest or investigation. More likely, someone killed or injured and someone else in in custody pending charges.

          It doesn’t always end that way but more often than not it does. Count on it.

          So…the question needs be asked: Which is worse?…getting ripped off for half a grand, or pulling a piece out, getting charged with assault with a deadly weapon or worse?…or USING it and then getting into a he-said/he-said situation, and the jury likes the other party’s skin color or accent better?

          As another poster said…if you step into a situation where you, yourself need a firearm…you’re making a serious judgment error.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        The way I read his reply the guys didn’t even try to negotiate and just said thus is what you’ll take.

        There is probably more to the story but at face value it indicates to me that the other party wasnt walking away until they got thier merchandise at the price they wanted even if the seller had no interest in going that low.

        When my brother used to live in Columbus Ohio he sold appliances and always complained about having to deal with Somalias (sp?) Whenever he said dealing with them it was in a group and they would surround him in what he thought was,an attempt to intimidate him into a cheaper price. No violence ever occurred but he thought it was a cultural inclination since it wasn’t an isolated case.

        I can’t verify that story but perhaps it’s thing in other cultures where some level of intimidation is expected???

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          That totally happens. I used to live in Minneapolis and worked at an office supply store and Somalis would come in demanding I would apply some expired, ‘20% off a ream of paper’ coupon to some laptop or tablet and mob my checkout counter while I would tell them I had to follow the instructions of the coupon and they’d have to speak to a manager if they didn’t like it. Then they’d mob the manager on duty. They usually didn’t leave until we threatened to call the police / security.

          I wonder whether it was successful for them in the pass, and I used to wonder why they had so many people sitting around ready to ‘help’ get $100 taken off the price of a laptop.

          A few months back, I was at the courthouse falling on my sword for a speeding ticket and I saw a group of Somalis mob a sheriff’s deputy while arguging about the bail for someone. He asked them to back up and give him some space but this fat woman pressed closer and got really close to his sidearm. He spun her around and arrested her on the spot and called for backup while cuffing her. Most of them started running away the second he keyed his walkie but a few stayed and who know how that got resolved but it was excellent to see the mob crumble like a paper tiger.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        You need not turn things in a different direction. I had ebay transaction that is a legal bonding paper between seller and buyer. Imagine that you walk into home depot get a $300 item and then give cashier $200 and say, “this should be enough for this item”. In a best case scenario, you leave and HD calls the police. In a worst one, some citizens will help to stop you at the door. My situation was no different. If these guys would attempt to leave with the car and the cash, I would warn them. I could shoot tires of my own car. I would call police for robbery. No, I wouldn’t shoot and kill unarmed person unless attacked badly. I just gave guys enough of hint that we’ll play nicely by the rules and they will leave either with car or cash but not both.

        These dudes were buying it to ship to Dominican. If I would lose sight of them they would be gone without trace.

        • 0 avatar
          garuda

          Even worse. No need for a gun there. At worst, you were stolen a $1500 car, but with an ebay/paypal account and a phone number to take to the police. Or you can say no deal, $1500 or bust, annoying but no reason for confrontation, unless you really just want to show that you are The Toughie here, in that case, just don’t make the excuse that it was necessary. When you have a hammer, you look for nails.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    My brother was looking at a used car in NYC. I said NO. I’m sure there’s a good non-branded used car dealer here and there….I just haven’t found them yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Dave M: as a denizen of Florida (with all the Florida-man stigma that goes with it) your flat refusal to buy a used NYC car is a breath of fresh air. Florida despite its peccadilloes has proved to be a great place to buy a used car, usually a cream-puff at an estate sale from a deceased snowbird retiree. My only bad experience was when a Japanese girlfriend of mine tried to buy a used RSX from a scam artist in Tampa who was a recent Brooklyn transplant. I had to leave work, grab a large friend and go to where he was practically holding her hostage blaming a preexisting dent with rust in it on her test drive.
      Shiver.

  • avatar
    gasser

    These guys are nuts. I’ve lived in NYC from birth through college. Things can go real bad real fast in these too good to be true deals.
    The winner in these meets is the guy with less to lose. Hint: That isn’t you.
    Try this sh!t enough times in NYC and you will end up shot or in jail….or just robbed if you are REALLY lucky.
    I meet CL folks at noon in crowded parking lots: you should too.

    • 0 avatar
      Shinoda is my middle name

      I think there might be a franchise opportunity here…”Safe Space” a series of secure, well-lit buildings with drive-in ingress and egress to provide a secure location for CL transactions and exchanges…in exchange for a transaction fee from both the buyer and the seller…notary services, atm machines, money order selling, etc.

  • avatar

    Am I the only person who insists meeting at a police station for deals like this?

    It’s no just for safety, either. Just asking serves as a useful filter to ward off potentially buying stolen merch. There’s a lot of electronics, for example, that turn up listed without their chargers. And the sellers suddenly don’t have a ride when you mention needing to meet them at the local barracks. Hmmm….

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Great advice!

      Although it does limit your options when looking for adult services.

      • 0 avatar
        garuda

        Unless you are in Oakland.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/us/a-young-prostitute-police-scandals-and-a-rocky-renaissance-in-oakland.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-1&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Police station, no. In most parts of the country they frown on it.

      I haven’t sold car parts on CL; but I have sold gold kruggerands. In so doing I’ve met in the lobby of my credit union. They know me and everything is constantly videoed. Comfortable and quiet and safe.

      With something bulkier and messier, like car parts or tires, I’d try to do it someplace where there are cameras and people and maybe rent-a-cops. Like a chain parts store or Wal-Mart or another public place.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have driven over the Washington Bridge from the Jersey side at 2 in the afternoon and it was a sh!t fight then. I couldn’t believe a better way to overcome this hasn’t been resolved, like tunnels.

    Sort of like 16 lanes merging into 4.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Almost every Sunday night for the past 15 years, we drive back into the city from Northeastern Pennsylvania, almost always over the George Washington bridge. For the last few months, we have been going 10 miles out of our way, using the Bear Mountain bridge (about 25 miles north) and we couldn’t be happier. It lets out onto as lovely a winding mountain road as you will find this close to NYC (although, most of the time, there are slowpokes in front). The toll is a lot better as well: $1.25 as opposed to $13.

      I have a pathological dislike for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which owns the Hudson River bridges and tunnels). It’s a giant hole in the ground into which we annually pour billions of dollars with no oversight whatsoever. For the last 16 years, I have at times, commuted through the World Trade Center which is, still, an unfinished project. Sixteen %&$#^%ing years and billions upon billions of dollars and we *still* have plywood stairs in the “architectural masterpiece”.

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that some members of TTAC’s B&B remain ignorant of the site from which this article was sourced. Thanks and goodnight.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I remember that article. I thought, “Gee, this sounds familiar.”

    • 0 avatar
      200Series

      So what’s the best CL alternative?

      I have a set of 18″ BMW “M” wheels with winter tires, and no BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Swap meets; posting to a BMW local forum; Cars and Coffee. If you are in a city, many times there will an eBay consignment shop int he area who will take the pics, post, handle the transaction etc for a fee.

      • 0 avatar
        AoLetsGo

        I have sold two sets of wheels and tires for cars I no longer owned. Both times it was in the classified ads of the web forum for that car. Both times it was a very pleasant transaction. No way would I sell/buy tires or parts on CL, I just don’t need to take that kind of risk.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Nice wheels. I saw a set on an Altima this morning and did a double-take.

  • avatar
    brn

    You have one friend that you describe as “jacked-up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master who may or may not have been raging”

    You have another friend you describe as “enjoys randomly raging at people”

    These are not the kinds of people I choose to associate with. I associate with people who are extremely adept at self defense, but “raging” is something they don’t do.

    I also agree with others, as soon as things got weird, time to cancel the deal. Can’t say I haven’t made a similar mistake though. It’s a lesson we all learn at some time or another.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Hey, I’m Back!

  • avatar
    April S

    You may want to believe those tires/wheels came from a legitimate source (owner doing an upgrade) but with all the sketchy behavior by that seller the only way one should handle them would be with a pair of asbestos gloves.

    One more thing. Considering how the tires still had their sprues (my dad worked at a tire factory and taught me all the terms) it would leave me to believe someone went the midnight discount option at a new car dealership.

    No deal is too good to risk dealing with stolen goods.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You didn’t steal them, that’s someone else’s problem. It’s no different than buying car parts at the swapmeet/flea market from the guy in shades. They got away ‘clean’ at that point.

      They generally mount new (cheap Chinese) tires on them to maximize profits, and appeal to the most buyers. They’re probably not balanced though.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The system we live under doesn’t care about theft or personal harm. Why should you disadvantage yourself and avoid a good deal for the sake of some personal idealization of our trashy society?

      Besides, plenty of honest people sell their wheels and tires too.

      These are probably completely untraceable anyway, unlike the custom studded tires that my buddy recently had stolen out of his yard. I feel sorry for any honest person who buys those wheels if we happen to ever see them, but they chose to roll the dice by interacting with scum.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        So true. I know of tweakers caught red handed by cops, possessing and in the very act of stripping stolen cars and pickups. Cops can’t do a darn thing unless they confess to stealing it. Of course they say the didn’t know it was stolen, and it ends there.

        • 0 avatar
          garuda

          My friend had a Civic stolen and stripped in San Antonio. Police caught them red handed, parts and contents in the yard of the thief. Charged and convicted. 4 years later, my friend still gets a $80 check every month from the thief. Not all get away.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            There needs to be plenty for the prosecutor. Obvious chop shop, other stolen cars/parts, prior arrests/convictions. Otherwise it’s a waste of resources/taxes to arrest, especially if they lawyer up.

      • 0 avatar
        April S

        Why would you risk losing your hard earned money plus in this case tires and wheels if it turned out they were stolen?

        Also, most honest people would not keep pushing the meeting time until the middle of the night, when there would be few if any witnesses. Plus honest and reputable folks would give you a receipt with some identifying information when selling things like those tires and wheels.

        I would but maybe I’m a bit too honest and ethical for this world.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          One more thing. Just because it is a trashy society that does not give one an excuse to make things even worse.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You should be more concerned for your safety if the guy gives you the creeps. I wouldn’t meet this guy to buy an album.

          Wheels and tires aren’t normally traceable/ID-able, but I’m sure even legit tire stores have been stung.

          I’ve seen legit body shops caught with stolen car parts, from legit and honest suppliers/junkyards.

          • 0 avatar
            April S

            Exactly, why would one risk being robbed or killed over a “good deal” on some lousy tires.

            Anyway, I will need to look over the tires on my automobile to see if there is a individual serial number on them. I’m going to say it would be doubtful one would steal the not-so-fancy OEM tires and steel wheels off my 2015 Honda Civic but I’m thinking it would be a good idea to record any ID numbers if they were high end performance tires.

            That and get a set of locking lug nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Wheels/tire don’t have serial numbers, and good luck finding the wheels, once they’re gone. Most locking nuts are easy to defeat, but they’re better than nothing.

            You could Dremel/etch you driver’s licence # on the wheels, save your tire receipts and write their casting numbers and build date on the receipt.

            Beyond that, I wouldn’t lose much sleep over wheels and tires.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It certainly would be best for decent people to avoid a situation like this in the first place. But it’s also understandable how you could get caught up in it if you have your mind set on something and haven’t already gone through or read about a process like this before.

            My friends and I have purchased and sold many tires, wheels, vehicles, and other things through Kijiji and there’s been nothing sketchy about any of it. Almost all Kijiji transactions any of us have made have occurred at the home or workplace of the seller. In the few dozen transactions I’ve been personally involved with, only a couple have occurred in a neutral location, and only because it happened to be far more convenient to do it that way.

            Our population density is low enough that you wouldn’t be very likely to get away with posting stolen goods on the internet. Those deals occur privately.

            Anyway, tires do have DOT codes displaying the week of production that, while not unique, could be used to help identify sets of tires. It seems statistically unlikely that any two random sets of seemingly identical tires on wheels would have the same combination of codes, unless they’re the OE tires on the same assembly line within the same week. I don’t think I’ve ever had a set of aftermarket tires where all four tires had the same date code.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Did you really want to post on the internet that you bought what was very, very likely stolen property and that you then resold said property?

    The delay was most likely due to “sourcing issues” ….

  • avatar
    ajla

    Not quite as colorful, but here was the story of my Craigslist Bonneville:
    ___________
    I was surfing CL late one night (as one does) when I clicked on the ad.

    It said “1992 pontiac bonneville . Black. 170 miles. 1200 obo. call anytime.” Then it had a phone number and two pictures of the car. That was it. But looking at the pictures I saw it was an SSEi, so I wrote down number.

    I called the next day. When the other end picked up it sounded like they were standing next to a waterfall.

    Me: Hi, I’m calling about the Bonneville.
    Other line: *Silence*
    Me: Um, the car for sale on Craigslist?
    Other line: Alright.
    Me: Well, what kind of shape is it in? Does it run? Is the title clean?
    Other line: *Silence*
    Me: Where is at? Can I come to look at it?
    Other line: It’s at (gives some address in Lakeland, FL area).
    Me: Does tomorrow afternoon around 2PM work?
    Other line: okay. But use this phone number from now on: (gives me new phone number).
    Me: Great see you then.
    Other line: *hangs up*

    So at this point I assumed there was no car and they were planning to murder me or tell me I had a pretty mouth when I showed up, but on the other hand, it was a cheap supercharged Bonneville. So I called up a friend (who is neither a Marine or martial arts expert) and asked him to drive me over to Polk County the next day.

    Friend picks me up, we go to the bank (always good idea to carry around a lot of cash when dealing with shady characters), and make the drive North. We show up at the address given, it’s a run-down gray house. No Bonneville in sight. Go up to the front porch of the house, knock on the door, no answer. The house looks vacant. What kind of scam is this?

    Get in my friend’s vehicle and call the number given me. A gruff sounding man answers.

    Me: Hi. I was told to call this number about a Pontiac Bonneville for sale.
    Other line: Are you at *gives address*?
    Me: Yes.
    Other line: I’ll be right there. *hangs up*

    About three minutes later a primer-only Buick Roadmaster Estate pulls up. A slightly older than middle aged guy steps out and walks over to my friend’s window. My friend rolls down the window about 1 cm.

    “You folks for the Pontiac?” “Yes.” He looks us over for a second. “It’s at *gives another address somewhere in Lakeland* if you want to see it.” We write down the address. Then the man gets in the Roadmaster and drives away.

    I don’t know if they moved the Bonneville during the day, or if they wanted to check us out first, but the whole thing seemed ridiculous. I asked my friend to go to the new address, and told him if the Bonneville wasn’t visible, we should just go home. He agreed.

    We pulled up to the second place. It was an even more run down, small peach colored house. The front door to the house was open. But, there was a Black SSEi in the yard.

    I walked up to the car. Paint was faded. Two tires were flat. Front seat was cracking. Nasty trash FILLED the interior. About what I expected. Sure let’s do this.

    I walked up to the entry of the house and yell in “Hello. I’m here about the car.”

    A very thin late 20s woman walks out. She’s in jean shorts and a white tank top. She’s kind of twitchy and scratching her arms. We walk over to the car. I ask for the keys. She tells me hold on and goes back in the house. Comes back with the keys and hands them to me. I get in the car. Open the hood and trunk. There are two pacifiers and an ACdelco oil filter box on the steering column. The back seat and floor are covered with napkins, cigar wrapper, various papers, fast food bags, and pizza boxes.

    The car was missing a radio and had no rear speakers. I started it up. The fuel pump was whining, but the only warning light illuminated was the low fuel one. No exhaust smoke. A/C didn’t work. Hot air only blew out of the defroster vent. I put it in drive, neutral, and reverse- it didn’t clunk.

    Turned it off, and looked under the hood. Belts and pulleys looked okay. Actually had proper fluids in (except for gas). trunk had a bottle of unopened Super Tech coolant and some rugs.

    “This is your car?”
    “Yea. It used to be my husband’s. But it’s mine now.”
    “Anything wrong with it?”
    I don’t know. I don’t drive.”
    “Would you take $820 for it?”
    “Sure.”

    So I bought the car without even driving an inch. Not the smartest move. Probably could have got it for less too.

    She goes into the house. Comes back with a title. It isn’t printed on a take-out menu so I assume it is legit. I go into my friend’s car and get the money. I exchange a tearful goodbye with the woman, and get into my “new” Bonneville.

    My friend follows me home. I hit up a nearby gas station for fuel and air. I also pray that I’m not pulled over because who knows what is packed in the glovebox or door panels.

    The car stalled once on the way home.

    I spent the next years repairing or restoring nearly everything and around the time I bought my Charger I gave it away for reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      multicam

      Holy crap! Pretty sure you could have saved about $320. $500 buys a lot of meth.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Dang, I would have walked as soon as I saw the car! If an SSEI is what you were after, that’s a common enough car that simply waiting around a bit, there’s a good chance that a much cleaner example for not a whole lot more money would have popped up. Me personally, I’d rather pay $2500 for a super clean grandpa example than $820 for a tweaker ride with a trashed interior and inop AC.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wow, that story is so Florida I can’t think of anything -more- Florida. I got images from season one of True Detective in my mind reading that.

  • avatar
    skor

    Wow! So much derp in this story, I don’t know where to start. First off, I was born in Jersey City, NJ. I’ve lived my entire life in the NYC area, I currently live in Jersey and work in Manhattan. I have never been robbed, had my crib burgled, or car stolen. These things are more likely to happen…statically speaking….in Methville, Flyover State, you know, where those real Muricans live. People who come to the big city, and have problems, are usually the types that have their heads so far up their asses, they need a snorkel to breath.

    I know the area you’re talking about very well, I purchased gas at that very station. I also know Hoboken. When I was a kid…..1970s…Hoboken was a slum. In the 80s, the artsy scene took over, now it’s Bro-ville full of bro dickishness. Your story is full of bro-like behavior, which I could excuse if you were in your 20s, but it made me wince when I read that you and your friends are in your 30s.

    Who does a business ‘deal’ like that after dark? You’re lucky this guy was just another one of those foreigners that people like Trump exploit by working them 12-14 hours a day, off the books, for less than minimum wage. That’s why he was so late.

    If the wheels didn’t fit, it was your own damn fault. You know what they say about assuming?

    As for CL, I tried it…..once. I contacted a guy….in North Jersey….who said he had a couple of cans of R-12(freon) for $20 per can. I showed up at his hovel..white dude, 40s, looked like a carny. Immediately he started with the BS, “You know, I talked to somebody and found out this stuff is ‘rare’. It’s worth at least $100 per can.” I said nothing, turned around and walked back to my car. He started making these bro noises which I believe bros are convinced makes them appear scary and intimidating. I ignored him, got in my car and left.

    Bro-dude, this is not a story I would have repeated if it happened to me, especially if I was in my 30s. Very embarrassing.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I love the stories ! .
    .
    I occasionally buy off craigslist , it amazes me how much effort the lying crooks put into selling crap for scrap price .
    .
    Why bother ?.
    .
    -Nate

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