Craigslist and the Fear of Going on Vacation


Programming Note: I apologize, but Off the Beaten Path is missing again today. It will return better than ever next Friday.

Also, there will be no new post on Saturday--as we are leaving for a vacation. Our destination should have working Internet and I expect to be blogging again on Monday.


While researching my post on Monday regarding violent crime and Craigslist (Craigslist and the Fear of Crime), I saw this PC World article from last year and am using it to generate a companion post:
This Craigslist Crime Tops Them All

A Craigslist-related scam has left an Oregon man without most of his belongings. According to an Associated Press report, Saturday a pair of ads popped up on Craigslist advertising that the owner of the home had been forced to leave the area and that all of his belongings were free for the taking.

The second of the two ads was more specific stating that a horse that had been abandoned by the sheriff's department was free to anyone willing to give it a good home.

Here the kicker: Robert Salisbury, the owner of the home and horse, was out of town and completely unaware of the Craigslist ads and that his house was being cleaned out.

When a woman tracked Salisbury down and called him to claim his horse Salisbury rushed home. He even stopped a truck full of his possessions on the way home. "I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury to the Associated Press. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did."

Deja Rip-Off

Believe it or not this is the second reported time a house has been ransacked because of a Craigslist ad. Last May a Seattle woman placed an ad on Craigslist stating: "Moving out ... House being demolished. Come and take whatever you want, nothing is off limits," without the homeowners knowledge. The house was cleaned out…
You can go to Scott Nichols’ original post at PC World to read more on this unreal story, and get the links to the Oregon and Washington examples that he cites.

I can just see a group of people trying to convince an officer that “this here Craigslist ad I am holding gives me permission” to kick “this here door” and load “these here three large televisions into my truck.”

Vacation Note to Self:

1) Animal has food and water (check)

2) Windows secured (check)

3) Lawn and trash helpers briefed (check)

4) Bookmark Craigslist and scan want ads daily to verify that no listing has been placed offering free stuff at my address while I am gone (no check—yikes)…

12 comments:

Dustytoes said...

Holy cow...this is crazy! People are crazy...I hadn't heard about this one.

Roanoke Cop said...

This is why you don't have the post office hold your mail, or the paper delivery hold, while you are on vacation. Do you know the guy sorting the mail? Do you know the guy delivering the paper? Do you trust them not to pass on to their dealer a good spot to burglarize? Get a trusted friend to help you watch your home by collecting that stuff for you as if you were home.

J. J. in Phila said...

Both in the same general area, hummm.

This is a good reason to tell your neighbors that you are leaving and check with them.

Cindy Beck said...

It wouldn't be surprising, either, if the people placing the ads did it for revenge.

What a world, what a world!

(Thanks for entering the contest to win one of the anthologies carrying my stories! Hope you had good luck.)

fayezie said...

Jaw on floor

Oz Girl said...

I remember reading about this, it's utterly insane! And why in the world would someone do this? Because they despise you for some reason, or just a prank by some bored teens? I will forever be amazed at the next crime that someone's brain thinks up...

Raindog said...

My brother responded to that call. He had an enormous amount of trouble convincing people the goods they had taken were not theirs to take.

The Craig's list ad was a cover for a burglary.

Jayne said...

Yes, my first thought was 'how do these people gain access to the house'. Well, *duh* Jayne...as Raindog says it's a cover for a burglary. It has to be said, it's a clever scam to cover your tracks but this is such a horrible thing to do (but then who said burglars are nice people)? I also have to say that all those people who go in and walk off with whatever goodies they fancy are deluding themselves if they think it's all above board. Surely personal items left there would be a huge clue???

Natalie said...

It's the same mentality that led to a Wal-mart worker getting trampled to death on Black Friday last year! Good deals (especially if it's FREE!) makes humans turn feral!

I'm glad you mentioned this since I just placed a car on Craigslist, hearing a lot of good reports on the website. Now, I'm not so sure...

Enjoy your vacation!

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all. It sounds like RD has the inside scoop on this story.

I guess I just should not be surprised at how clever and determined ppl are to steal stuff.

I hope you sell your car quickly Natalie--we never like hassling with selling them ourselves.

mappchik said...

Eek. I almost wish I'd skipped reading this post... at least until we're back home from our vacation.

Hope your family trip is safe & loads of fun.

mrs. fuzz said...

Great. Just great. more to worry about. Kind of unbelievable and heartbreaking for the poor guy who couldn't get any of his stuff back trying to reason with the people driving off with his stuff. Roanoke Cop has great advice. I always hear that you SHOULD get your mail hgeld at the post office, now I'll go to a trusted friend instead.

I seriously don't know if I'll ever use craigslist again. . .