An armed carjacker posing as a car buyer and using counterfeit money allegedly targeted a woman and her 2-year-old son in Riverside, police say.
The incident took place during the car's sales transaction after the victim met the buyer on the Internet, but he turned out to be a robber.
"It was horrifying," Sarah Adams, the victim, said. "I have never been through something so scary in my life. I'm so thankful nothing worse happened."
The violent carjacking left Adams with bruises on her arm.
"I was just so naive," Adams admits. "It's still shocking to me that I let that happen."
Adams says she posted her car for sale on an app and got a response from a man who agreed to buy it for $2,300.
"I was only trying to sell the car to make sure I could get another car that was better for me and my son," Adams says.
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The buyer wanted the car as soon as possible, so Adams and her 2-year-old son, along with a male friend, met with the man on a Riverside street. It was just after midnight on Saturday.
"I grab my pink slip to give to him, and he starts counting out this money," Adams says. "And it's fake money. It was like paper $100 bills."
She adds, "Right away, I felt it was fake."
That's when, Adams says, the man jumped into her car.
"He started it, and I jump in the window halfway. I don't know what I was trying to do. I was trying to reach for the keys, and he took off."
But the robber didn't just try to simply get away; he attempted to badly injure his victim.
"He took me down like four house and tried to hit me into a car that was parked on the side of the street," Adams said.
She says the robber pulled out a handgun and tried to hit her in the face with it.
The car then slowed down for a moment, and Adams managed to get out. The armed robber quicky drove away. The car was located by officers early Tuesday morning in a Jack In the Box parking lot.
One person was arrested and booked on suspicion of carjacking.
Officer Ryan Railsback, of the Riverside Police Department, advised that any time you meet with strangers to buy or sell items, be sure to take some basic safety precautions.
"Do it during daylight hours, where it's well lit and when there is public around," Railsback said.
Adams says the car is her only mode of transportation. It also had her son's car seat and stroller inside. But she said she was glad that nothing worse happened.
Adams said, "It's not worth to risk your life... for a couple hundred bucks."