By Juliette Goodrich

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) — A man used the popular app LetGo to sell his car in what he thought would be a normal transaction, but he left the interaction with a broken hand and his car stolen.

Victim Erik Lau listed his 2003 black Mercedes Benz E320 on the app and arranged to meet up with a buyer in the Denny’s parking lot in San Leandro on Monday night. It was a well-lit public area that’s right next to a freeway.

Things suddenly took a wrong turn when they suspect tried to drive off with the car as Lau walked toward the passenger seat. Lau tried to block the man from driving off with his car.

“Next thing you know, he tried to run me over,” Lau said. He started smashing the windshield with his hand, which is how it ended up in a cast. “I literally smashed the window just to slow him down a little bit,” he explained.

Lau said the man initially did not seem “off track,” saying their conversations leading up to the arrangement seemed normal.

Lt. Henderson of the San Leandro Police Department cautions people to vet buyers and sellers urgently before arranging an in-person meeting.

“Make sure you are dealing with a reputable source. Look at their profile, make sure they have a good rating,” Henderson warned.

Lau’s cell phone was also stolen by the suspect. He tracked it and it was last seen at the United Nations Plaza in downtown San Francisco.

But after suffering a broken hand, Lau says he is not about to go looking for the suspect on his own.

Police are investigating the incident, but they also say they anyone planning to make a sale over an app can do so at a local police department.

Juliette Goodrich