Phony Craigslist Ad Leads To Looting Of Home

Hoax calls into question Craigslist policy

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A Jacksonville, Oregon man received an unpleasant surprise Saturday after a pair of bogus ads on Craigslist appeared stating his belongings were free for the taking.

CraigsList LogoCraigsList Logo
(Photo Credit: CraigsList)

The ads said that the owner of the home Robert Salisbury was forced to leave the area immediately and all his possessions, including a horse were free for anyone to take. Salisbury realized something was very wrong when he received a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to take his horse.

He rushed home to a surreal scene. "I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give stuff back," Salisbury told The Seattle Times. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did."

Around 30 people were still taking items from the house as Salisbury did his best to stop them. He said because they saw the Craigslist ad online they believed it was true.

Jacksonville police are investigating the incident and are working with Craigslist legal team to find out who placed the phony ad.

The hoax calls into question Craigslist policy of anonymity with its posters that some say is too loose. A similar incident happened in Tacoma, Washington after a woman posted an ad on Craigslist telling people to "please help yourself to anything on the property."


Phony Craigslist Ad Leads To Looting Of Home
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  • Guest

    Didn’t the owner have a gun?

    Or had someone already taken THAT too?

  • http://www.netndx.com Sean

    I would sue Craigslist and pursue charges against all involved parties. Craigslist should also make an appeal to their readers to return the stuff

    • Sue

      Sue and lose.  Craigslist can’t be held liable.  It’s the law.

      • http://www.netndx.com Sean

        I don’t know. this type of thing could be tested a couple of different ways.

        I would like to hear your interpretation of the law though sounds like an interesting debate.  

  • Guest

    Didn’t something like this happen on eBay last year?  How on earth can people be SO stupid as to think an ad like that could be for real???  I guess convieniently stupid.  I hope he had good home owener’s insurance!!!

  • http://www.petfoodstory.com David

    Just imagine… posting a craigslist ad that money was free at your local bank.

    Or imagine posting an ad that groceries were for the taking at your local supermarket.

    I think I’ve just found the American Dream!

  • http://www.SoyLaCalle.com SoyLaCalle.com


     I seem to be missing something.

    Why didn’t this moron simply call the Police and have the people arrested (or threatened with arrest) fot Larceny? If he has his ID and says he didn’t place the ad, the Police have to take his word for it.

  • Saurkraut

    Some things about this didn’t ring true.

    1. Why didn’t he call the cops?

    2. Why didn’t he jot down license plate numbers?

    3. If people took the time to patiently explain that they could take his stuff due to the Craig’s List ad, then why didn’t he get their names and phone numbers?

    4. I find it VERY hard to believe that Craig’s List doesn’t have a trace which will show what IP addy posted this ad.

    One wonders if the man staged it himself to collect homeowner’s insurance…?

  • Rober D.

    hmmm, crowbar out of trunk, direct eye contact and a "put it down NOW" in a calm but stern voice shoulda got the point across.   …they just keep breeding don’t they.

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