A New Orleans realtor was fatally shot Sunday morning while delivering a dirt bike he was selling on Facebook Marketplace.
Joseph Vindel, 29, had been messaging with 20-year-old Jalen Harvey about a dirt bike he was selling for around $2,800, New Orleans Sheriff Joe Lopinto said at a Monday news conference.
But when Vindel showed up at Harvey’s apartment with the dirt bike on the back of his car, Harvey didn’t pay him for it. Instead, he allegedly gunned him down, put his body in the car’s back seat, and drove the vehicle from his home outside New Orleans into the heart of the city. Harvey then allegedly abandoned the vehicle there and rode back to his apartment on the dirt bike, Lopinto said.
When Vindel failed to come home that day, his family reported him missing, Lopinto said. Around 5 a.m. Monday, they discovered his dead body inside his car.
Authorities traced Vindel’s murder back to Harvey through their message history, Lopinto said. Deputies arrived at Harvey’s apartment complex to find the dirt bike on the patio. They confronted him, and he allegedly confessed to killing Vindel.
Vindel was an up-and-coming real estate agent who had recently earned his license, according to WWL-4.
“He was loved by everyone and didn’t deserve this,” Vindel’s father, Lindsey Vindel, told the station.
Lopinto urged caution when trading on sites like Marketplace. New Orleans has seen five robberies in the past year linked to users buying and selling items on Facebook.
Facebook has a list of tips for keeping safe when trading on Marketplace. Recommendations include meeting in a public, well-lit area and considering taking another adult with you when completing a sale.
Harvey has been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and obstruction of justice. He is being held on $275,000 bond, according to online inmate records.
It’s not clear if he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.
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