Bond is set at $75,000 for a transient suspected of stealing four luxury cars from Phoenix health clubs since early December.
Phoenix police believe 45-year-old Richard Cory Barker followed the victims into two workout facilities in northeast Phoenix.
He allegedly broke into their lockers as they worked out and removed personal property including car keys.
Authorities say Barker sold 1 of the vehicles for $8,900 after advertising it online and giving the buyer a fake title.
The buyer was unaware it was stolen and paid cash at that time.
Chris Skiba was victimized by the scam. He found the 2001 Mercedes on Craigslist and it was supposed to be a gift for his stepson.
"When he handed it to me I noticed the paper was a little heavier than normal, I thought something wasn't quite right," says Skiba.
But Skiba ignored his gut. Barker produced a driver's license matching the name on the title. The vin number, the manufacturing date, and the notary stamp on the back all seemed to check out, so Skiba handed over the cash. But the moment they took it to the DMV to register it, they were told there was a problem. And Skiba knew.
"I know in my heart it's a stolen car."
Undercover officers posed as potential buyers for 1 of the stolen vehicles and took Barker into custody Monday.
Barker is being held on suspicion of vehicle theft, taking the identity of another, trafficking stolen property, credit card theft, forgery and burglary.
Barker is apparently a career criminal with numerous felony convictions in California.
"The reason I'm sitting here is I want to help other people and that is to help them understand what you have to do in today's time to protect you from becoming me," says Skiba.
There are a couple of red flags to look out for: if the seller only has one key, or if they don't have the original car manuals.
But the best way to protect yourself is go to the DMV with the seller or have a title company run the title number and the vin number to make sure everything checks out.
Video: FOX 10's Kelly Hessedal reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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