UPDATE: Amanda Paris, the suspect in the Craigslist rental house scam featured on FOX 4 News Problems Solvers which aired Monday, Nov. 4, was arrested on Tuesday, Nov. 5 by Blue Springs Police Detectives in Lee's Summit, Mo. Paris is scheduled to be arraigned at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday on a six count felony stealing charge in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Mo. located in downtown Independence, Mo.
The original story is featured below.
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- The number of victims of a Craigslist scam that Fox 4 News first warned you about last month keeps growing. Six metro families have now been caught in the trap and law enforcement authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the woman they believe is behind the scam.
Blue Springs Police are looking for Amanda Paris. A local family said Paris scammed them out of $1,250 by pretending to rent them a house she didn't even own.
"'She said she was the owner," said Danielle Niccoli, who along with her husband and five children were planning on moving into the house in September. "She said she was moving to Omaha, because she got a job and needed to rent the house out while she was away."
However, Paris was not the homeowner and Blue Springs Police said the Niccolis are just one of six families who have been taken by the scam. The actual owner of the Blue Springs house is Jamie Stidham. He said he rented the house to Paris in June, believing he was helping out a single mom in need of a place to live. But from the start, he said there were problems.
"She had written a deposit check of $3,000 to get into my house and that check bounced," Stidham recalled.
But the next month, Paris seemed to have her act together and rent began to come in on time. All appeared well until Stidham received a phone call from a man living next to his rental home.
"The very next day I got a call from a neighbor," Stidham told FOX 4 News. "He said I've got a family, the Niccoli family, sitting in my living room crying and upset."
The Niccolis had given Paris all their savings to rent the house, but they never received a key or even a lease. In addition, the woman was no longer returning their text messages or telephone calls.
When Fox 4 News caught up with Paris at the same rental house in October, she promised to return the money and said she had changed her mind about moving. But the Niccolis never got their money back and Blue Springs Police said they are just one of six families who paid Paris a total of $10,000 to rent the house, believing she was the owner. Not long after the last family handed over their deposit, Paris disappeared.
However, there was some good news to come out of this sad tale. The Niccoli family moved into the house on Nov. 1, thanks to Stidham who said he felt horrible that his house was being used as a Craigslist scam.
Blue Springs Police continue to actively search for Paris.