Local News

Computer forensics helped solve Craigslist robberies

Posted January 13, 2009
Updated January 14, 2009

— Durham County prosecutors who wrapped up two robbery cases last week involving the online classifieds site Craigslist say computer forensics played a key role in the case.

Three men – Edwin Langolis, 21, Jahid Diggs, 17, and Ashton Darielle Byrd, 17 – were arrested in June on robbery charges in connection with the crimes, which occurred May 5 and May 17.

In both cases, the victims reported that they were responding to an online listing for a motorcycle.

The first victim, a 36-year-old Virginia man, said several armed men approached him and robbed him of a ring, a cell phone and $4,000 in cash. The second victim, a 34-year-old Greensboro man was able to get away after a teenager pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Stormy Ellis said Durham police were able to trace the suspects to an e-mail address associated with the Craigslist posting to a computer modem, and with the help of Time Warner Cable, to the home of one of the suspects.

"We found a tremendous amount of Craigslist  ads that were placed using that computer," said Ryan Johnson, a consultant with Forward Discovery, which was contracted to track down the electronic paper trail which wrapped up the case.

"And we also found e-mail to and from potential victims, as well as the victims who were robbed in this situation," Johnson said. "The computer evidence has shown to be be very damning."

Diggs pleaded guilty in October and received an active sentence of 38 to 55 months in prison. Byrd pleaded guilty in November and received 20 to 33 months of probation.

Langolis, the suspected ring leader, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 61 to 83 months in prison followed by another 61 to 83 months of probation.

Ellis said that although two cases were solved, she is concerned there could be more victims.

A third case was thwarted, she believes, when Durham police officers saw a man driving around looking to meet someone to buy an Acura.

"The key is for victims to come forward and being as helpful as possible to police," she said.


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  • dlb800 Jan 16, 2009

    And people think that guns should be outlawed... how else can you protect yourself?

  • dta27615 Jan 14, 2009

    Hm... with names like Edwin Langolis, Jahid Diggs, and Ashton Darielle Byrd... they don't really seem like some of Durham's finest... "The second victim, a 34-year-old Greensboro man was able to get away after a teenager pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him."

    Glad to see gun control is working! guess its time for me to get that CCP i've been thinking about...

  • maxim Jan 14, 2009

    I was bike shopping on CL during that time - went to many houses all over and never gave it a thought. I have bought and sold a lot of goods on CL with no issues. But you can never be too careful!

  • ConcernedNCC Jan 14, 2009

    Let's hope the probation office works better by then.

  • thequeenlyone Jan 14, 2009

    Wow! I am shocked that this is going on. I guess I've been naive to say the least. I've sold many things and the buyers come to my house. I did sell an expedition and the buyers who happened to be hispanic came with cash in hand which now that I think about it could have been very dangerous for them as well. I will use the advice of many of you on this post and meet at a mutual place from now on.

  • offconstantly Jan 14, 2009

    i was on craigslist and was wanting to buy a bike, dude told me exactly where he stayed, when he would be home and everything. said his wife is there ALONE, he specified. i was a little skeptical when he said all this. so i backed out of the buy.

  • RonnieR Jan 14, 2009

    Thins musta changed since I retired, used to be robbery with a dangerous weapon got you 7 years (84) months, which was the absolute minimum. No time off for good behavior, parole or anything. Looks as if they've knocked that down quite a bit

  • QT3.14 Jan 14, 2009

    Craigslist is a creepy place. I mostly used to list stuff I was giving away for free, but that seemed to bring out the worst of the worst.

  • Glock Ranger Jan 14, 2009

    True for me, too, 68_polara. In fact, I am sometimes armed when I write the ads :-)!

    One of my most interesting encounters was when I sold a camper trailer to one of the Homeland Security agents at RDU!

  • 68_polara Jan 14, 2009

    I've bought and sold automobiles as well as other stuff on Craig's list. You meet mostly really nice people but one can't be naive there are predators out there. I never meet someone from Craig's list unarmed.