LODI, CA - A family is still trying to figure out what went wrong after a carjacking left a father stranded on the side of the road.
The Lodi father was just trying to sell a car to pay for a special trip to Disneyland, but instead of finding an interested buyer, he came across a pair of crooks.
Rosario Yepiz did so many things right after advertising his 1999 Lincoln on Craigslist. He had the buyer meet him in a public place, and he didn't come alone. His wife and family waited in a separate car while he and the buyer went for a test drive, but despite his precautions, he still got robbed.
When Yepiz decided to sell his car on Craigslist it was to raise money for one purpose.
"To go to Disneyland with my family on December 4," Yepiz said.
That's when his daughter turns eight years old. Yepiz has sold things on Craigslist before and he knows the risks, that's why he suggested an open parking lot in the 700-block of Kettleman Lane in Lodi to meet the buyer in broad daylight.
Guadalupe Yepiz, along with their two children, met her husband to monitor the deal. Soon a well-dressed man in his late twenties arrived with a woman claiming to be his wife. The buyer suggested a test drive.
"I just try to give him the keys, and I say, you drive. And he's like, 'no, no you drive; the car is not in my name, and we haven't done no paper work or nothing, so it's in your name,'" Yepiz said.
The two men drove South on 99 while Guadalupe waited in her car watching the buyer's wife. She noticed the woman move from the passenger seat to the driver seat of the buyer's car.
"I lowered my window, and I waved at her, and I go, hey, hey, they're going to be right back. And she's like, 'oh yeah they'll be right back,' and I said, okay. And she's like, 'yeah he's going to get it,' and I said, okay, and she drives off, and when she's driving off, I'm writing her license plate number down 'cause I just felt something's not right," Guadalupe said.
She was right. Rosario hadn't driven far before the buyer asked him to pull over, so he could trade places and drive back to where the women were waiting.
"I stopped the car, put it in park, and he jumped to the driver seat, and he pushed me out, and he just put the car in drive, and he just took off," Rosario said.
He immediately called his wife, who called police, but the license plate number she wrote down didn't help much.
"All they said was that the car that they were driving was stolen, also from Sacramento, so that's all we know," Guadalupe said.
The couple says the hardest part has been explaining this to their children, especially soon-to-be-eight-year-old Alyssa who was hoping for that trip to Disneyland. For now, they hope what happened to them will be a cautionary tale for others.
"We just want to get the word out, let everybody know, be very careful when they're doing any transaction or selling any items on Craigslist, cars... there's... I don't know... there's some bad people out there," Guadalupe said.
The San Joaquin Sheriff's Department describes the primary suspect in the carjacking as an African-American man in his mid-20s with short black hair, between 5'8" and 5'9" with a thin build.
The woman with him is described as African-American, in her mid 30s, heavyset, with mid-length, curly black hair that she wore in a bun. She also had several colorful tattoos on her forearms.
The couple initially met the suspects in a parking lot next to Denny's in the 700-block of Kettleman Lane. The men had just exited East Armstrong Road when the suspect stole the car.