Phony Craigslist Ad Leads To Looting Of Home

    March 26, 2008

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."