Using the Internet as a conduit, Stanislaus County deputies arrested a man trying to buy what he thought was stolen scrap metal.
A detective on the county's rural crime unit was online looking at Craigslist when he noticed a man offering to buy scrap metal, according to Capt. Tim David.
The detective called the man and made arrangements to meet with him Wednesday and sell him some scrap metal. Detectives arrived in an unmarked pickup with a load of scrap metal at an intersection in Ceres.
They told the buyer that there was about $2,000 worth of the metal, that it had been stolen and he could buy it for $300.
Once the price was agreed upon, deputies swooped in and arrested Steve John, 34, of Modesto. He was booked into Stanislaus County Jail on charges of attempting to possess stolen property.
"Farmland thefts, removal of wire, scrap metal ... we're dealing with this constantly," David said. "(The Internet) is just another investigative tool for our rural crimes unit. ... If we can keep the crooks guessing, we'll continue with these types of opportunities when they present themselves."