He wanted a PlayStation 3, but he wound up with a $700 box of junk.
The 27-year-old San Jose man was the victim of a popular scam Saturday when he opened his PlayStation 3 box and found floor tiles, a PlayStation 2 controller and apartment rental magazines instead of the highly sought-after $600 video game console, Fremont police Sgt. Chris Mazzone said.
The victim told police that he had been searching for one of the gaming units, which sell out at retail stores in less than a day and are being resold on eBay for $800 to $1,000. He found a seller on craigslist who said he would part with one for $700 in cash, Mazzone said.
''He said he worked at Best Buy in Hayward and had one,'' Mazzone said the victim told police.
After a day or two of e-mail correspondence, the two agreed to meet Saturday afternoon in a McDonald's parking lot in Fremont's Warm Springs neighborhood.
When the victim arrived, the seller and an accomplice got out of a white 2003 Ford Explorer, approached the victim with a black bag and told him the PlayStation 3 was inside, the sergeant said.
The buyer peered into the bag, saw a box and asked that it be opened before he handed over the cash, police said. The seller balked and said, ''What, don't you trust me?'' The two then agreed to exchange the money and bag at the same time, Mazzone said.
Once the seller had the cash, he and his accomplice scurried to the Explorer, sped out of the parking lot and drove through a red light, the sergeant said.
Authorities Monday said they had not made any arrests.
''If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,'' Mazzone said. ''If the seller is reluctant to show you the product before taking the money, trust your instincts.''