‘It’s kind of nerve-racking’: Victim recounts teaming up with SPD to recover stolen items sold on Facebook Marketplace

SPOKANE, Wash. — From couches to cars, Facebook Marketplace is home to thousands of items – this week, it was home to at least $500 worth of stolen ski gear belonging to one Spokane couple.

Aleksander Collier and his girlfriend told 4 News Now they filed a police report earlier in the week when they noticed their ski and snowboard equipment had been taken from their storage unit.

“A couple things went through my mind – one was ‘well, I guess we’re not going skiing this weekend,'” Collier said. “I thought, ‘you know, I wonder if someone is going to try and sell this because… there’s probably a reason they’re stealing it.'”

Collier typed in ‘ski gear’ in the Facebook Marketplace search bar only to find his suspicions were spot on. Whoever stole his stuff was now looking to sell it on Facebook. Collier said he and his girlfriend used a friend’s account to message the seller before teaming up with Spokane Police.

“We told him, ‘Oh, well if you still have the boots, we’d pay you a little bit more because this would make a great gift for someone I know,'” Collier laughed. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking, it’s kind of exciting, because it’s all unraveling so fast. And, you’re wondering if it’s actually gonna work out.”

Once SPD was on board, they set up a time to meet the seller at the Browne’s Addition Rosauers. Instead of paying customers, a man named Douglas Enos was met by Spokane Police in the parking lot, who said they found Collier’s belongings in the backseat of Enos’ car. Enos was arrested and Collier got his stuff back.

Collier said there’s strength in numbers.

“Have the officers help out because even if you think things are going to go smooth, or even if you have a way to get things back,” Collier said. “You never know the reactions of the other person and you don’t want to get in trouble yourself, if there is some sort of conflict.”

Spokane Police Sgt. Terry Preuninger couldn’t agree more.

“You could be being set up for again, another crime. They could be simply going there, knowing that you’re gonna show up with money because you’re coming to purchase items — and it could be another robbery or another attempted theft,” Preuninger said.

“Imagine if you went to claim something you believed to be yours and it turned out it wasn’t and you try to forcibly take it from that person — you yourself could end up committing the very crime that you had committed against you,” he added.

Preuninger recommended recording the serial numbers of any items that may be valuable to you, as well as marking your belongings with your driver’s license number, so police can easily trace your belongings back to you.