Edgartown Police have identified and located a man they believe is responsible for defrauding at least two people of $2,920 each, using a phony Craigslist classified advertisement. In its February 3 edition, The Times published surveillance pictures of the suspect collecting the money (“Internet scam money trail leads to Martha’s Vineyard“).
Several people got in touch with Edgartown police to identify the man as Luri Kankadze, 24, and a native of the Republic of Georgia, part of the former Soviet Union. Police say he spent last summer on the Island, listing an address in Oak Bluffs on various documents.
“There were plenty of tips from the paper,” Edgartown police officer Michael Gazaille said. “We were able to locate him and positively identify that’s him in the picture.”
Officer Gazaille, who began investigating the scam in December, said Mr. Kankadze is now in Florida. Officer Gazaille spoke by phone with him on Wednesday. Police say Mr. Kankadze has agreed to return to Martha’s Vineyard next week for questioning.
The victims, one in Wisconsin, the other in Ontario, Canada, wired the money to Martha’s Vineyard, using the Western Union money transfer service. Mr. Kankadze is pictured in the surveillance photos collecting the money at the Stop & Shop supermarkets in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown.
While Mr. Kankadze’s criminal record is not a public record at this point, police say he does have some history of criminal activity involving the Internet. According to the Cape Cod Times, Mr. Kankadze was in Falmouth District Court on a shoplifting charge in August of 2008. The court dismissed that charge upon payment of $200 in court costs.