Police nab man who advertised cars online then robbed buyers

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Suspect in custody

CHANDLER -- A suspect in a series of armed robberies in the East Valley was arrested after a short pursuit Wednesday afternoon.

The Gilbert Police Department has been investigating a series of armed robberies in Gilbert, Tempe and Phoenix.

Gilbert police Sgt. Mark Marino said the suspect advertised cars for sale on Craigslist and when the victims met with him to purchase the cars, he robbed them at knifepoint.

Police say there have been three robberies and two attempted robberies.

The suspect, who has been identified as David Vinh La, of Chandler, has obtained more than $15,000 in the last three weeks.

On Wednesday, police investigators identified an ad on Craigslist as possibly being related to this series of robberies and an operation to have the suspect meet with an undercover detective was developed.

Marino said when La arrived he matched the description from the prior robberies and was driving the same vehicle make and model associated with two of them.

La tried to convince the detective to get into the car and go for a test drive. The detective attempted to stall the suspect, but he fled.

Police pursued the suspect for approximately five miles on both surface streets and the 202 Santan freeway.

La lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree at Val Vista Drive and Boston Street. He then fled on foot, but was apprehended after a short foot pursuit.

Evidence from the robberies was found inside the vehicle. Detectives executed a search warrant at a location in Chandler where additional evidence was obtained further implicating the suspect in the robbery series.

La was booked on two counts of armed robbery, two counts of attempted armed robbery and felony flight.