Junk Cars for Cash

A South Florida Craigslist schemer wants your dubiously acquired vehicles.

Last week, Craigslist scrapped its "Erotic Services" category after one too many murderers used it to lure victims to their deaths. But petty criminals should not despair: There are still plenty of ways to skirt/break the law on the free classifieds website.

Our hero this week shall be identified only as Mike, for that's the name he uses on Craiglist, where he offers to buy junk cars for cash — paying $150 if the sellers have a title for the vehicle, and $100 if they don't. His catchy slogan — spared his all-caps: "Only company that will buy junk cars without title in Dade!"

When it seems like it might finally be time to part with that beloved 1989 Chevy Nova (that you just stole), call Mike and his associate, Manny, who will show up with a tow truck and a crisp Benjamin. The car will be taken to a scrap yard in Broward County — which, Mike says, is one of the few counties in the nation where a title is not needed to resell a vehicle if it was manufactured before 1999. In most cases, the engine and exhaust are the only parts salvaged from a clunker. The rest is compacted.

"It's completely legal," promises Mike, who says he's been pulling the scheme for two years, and believes his posterior is covered. "Yeah, all the time," he responds casually when asked if he ever suspects a car was jacked. "That's why there's a form that I make them sign that says that it was acquired legally and that the seller takes full legal responsibility if it's stolen."

Our confidence in the strength of Mike's legal expertise took a further hit when we called the Broward Sheriff's Office and were told our friend is full of shit. "He's breaking the law," Dani Moschella says after checking the rules. "You definitely need a title to sell a car in Broward County, no matter the model year."

 
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