Merrimack sneaker deal goes awry for buyer

MERRIMACK – Police have filed a charge of theft by deception against an 18-year-old Merrimack man who allegedly engaged in a little sleight-of-hand while selling a pair of $250 sneakers to an unsuspecting buyer.

Jacob Watkins, of 15 Brieann Drive, turned himself in to Merrimack police on Wednesday after learning that an arrest warrant had been issued on the misdemeanor offense, police said.

He was booked and later released on $1,000 personal recognizance bail pending a Jan. 30 appearance in Merrimack District Court.

Police said Watkins, about a week ago, posted an online ad stating he was selling a pair of sneakers for $250.

When a potential buyer responded, police said, “an agreement was made to purchase the sneakers for $250.” Watkins and the unidentified buyer then made plans to meet, police added.

Watkins showed the buyer the sneakers, and after looking them over she paid him the asking price of $250.

According to the police investigation, however, when Watkins went to put the sneakers back in the box, he allegedly swapped them out with another pair of sneakers “that were not shown nor agreed upon,” police said.

When the buyer later opened the box and found the mystery sneakers, she “made attempts to contact” Watkins, police said, “but he blocked her calls.”

She contacted police, and they launched an investigation on Dec. 22 that led to the warrant for Watkins’s arrest.