Police: Man killed during dog sale robbed another the day before

DeKalb police still had not identified the man late Friday who was killed after allegedly plotting to steal a valuable bulldog.

But they believe he engineered at least four other robberies involving online sellers of products ranging from iPhones to purebred pets.

He was shot and killed in front of a home near Stone Mountain about just after 12:01 a.m. Friday after police say he lured to the house a man who was trying to sell his English Bulldog online.

Walter Gonzalez, 40, drove over from Winder to sell the dog to a man who had answered the ad. Gonzalez told police he was uneasy about meeting the man late at night but agreed after being tempted by the offer of an additional $500 for the dog he had advertised for $2,000, according to police.

He also brought with him 32-year-old Salvador Burgos, who packed a pistol.

The Winder men saw two men standing outside the residence when they pulled up. While Gonzalez was showing the prospective buyer the bulldog, the man pulled a pistol and ordered Burgos out of the vehicle, the report said.

Instead Burgos pulled his .40-caliber Glock and opened fire, killing the man who fell in the grass. His confederate fled.

Just about 24 hours earlier, police say the now dead gunman successfully robbed a Cumming man of his English Bulldog outside the same house on Fairforest Drive near South Hairston Road. Gustavo Medina-Ramirez, 35, said when the psuedo buyer was examining the dog he took a phone call and then pulled a black handgun, according to a police report.

“Don’t move, I’m taking the dog,” the bandit said, according to the report. He then retreated to the back of the house and Medina-Ramirez left and called police.

That bulldog is still missing, said Capt. Steve Fore.

The two robberies happened days after Bud and June Runion of Marietta went to Telfair County to make a car purchase arranged through Craigslist. Their bodies were found Monday. GBI autopsy results showed they were shot in the head with a small caliber gun.

After Friday’s shooting, Gonzalez and Burgos told police they left the scene with the bulldog because they feared the other man that was with the suspect would return. They topped a short distance away and called police.

Responding officers found the man dead in the front yard of the home.

Detectives believe they can link the dead man and the Fairforest address to three additional cases where victims advertising items for sale online were robbed, said police spokeswoman Mekka Parish.

Those included a Jan. 22 incident involving a victim trying to sell an iPhone 6 on Craigslist, according to a police report.

Two of the previous victims only contacted police after seeing news reports about the overnight shooting, Parish said.

In response to the deaths of the Runions and other recent crimes involving Craigslist sales, Smyrna police Thursday announced “Operation Safe Sale,” inviting anyone selling or buying items online to use the police headquarters parking lot as a safe location for the transaction.

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