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Duluth PD searching for online car scammer

DULUTH -- Duluth police are searching for a man they believe scammed victims nationwide by "selling" an antique truck over the Internet, collecting payment and disappearing.

Authorities believe Duluth resident John Kennedy Muntean -- using the alias "Martin Moore" -- posted on Craigslist a detailed listing about an iconic 1951 Chevrolet pickup truck for sale. A victim from Westerville, Ohio, some 600 miles away, was interested and contacted "Moore."

The seller told the victim that he would "list the truck on eBay so that if (the victim) wanted to buy it, their transaction would be protected," according to a report filed with the Duluth Police Department.

The 70-year-old Ohio man followed through, sending a $7,500 wire transfer to Chase National Bank on Old Peachtree Road.

The victim was "contacted shortly after and told that something went wrong with the money transfer," though both his bank and the local Chase branch confirmed the money had been transferred. In the meantime, Muntean, 48, reportedly contacted the buyer and told him he would take $6,500 for the truck but needed him to wire it to another bank "because he needed the money soon."

That's when the Ohio man contacted police, but he wasn't the only alleged victim.

Incident reports list eight other victims of Muntean's scam: ages 37 to 66, there were alleged victims in Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California. It was unclear Tuesday if they fell prey to the exact same scheme.

Gwinnett County Detention Center records showed Muntean had not been detained as of Tuesday afternoon. Warrants for three counts of theft by deception were filed Jan. 17.

According to one of the victims, Muntean used addresses on Boles Farm Lane and Bridlewood Drive during their dealings.