Two people have been arrested after being found of creating a fake Craiglist ad that led to an Oregon man’s house being looted, watching helplessly as they took his stuff.
Police say that the incident stemmed from an attempt by two thieves to cover their tracks from an earlier robbery.
Robert Salisbury came home on March 22 to find his house being looted by 30 strangers, after Brandon and Amber Herbert posted an ad on Craigslist saying that he had left town and no longer needed his belongings. Nearly of what the independent contractor owned, including a horse, was taken.
When he tried to stop it, they showed him his ‘ad’ and told him that they had a right to do so. Trucks left loaded with his things, including furniture, work ladders and a swing that hung on his front porch. Some of the items were given back to him after Salisbury recorded the license plate numbers, but thousands of dollars worth of goods are still unaccounted.
The press originally thought it was a hoax or a prank turned out to be a robbery, just with a twist. The Smoking Gun published a “Probable Cause Affidavit” saying that they were covering their tracks on the robbery.
Police found the couple by tracing the ad to their computer at home, along with saddles stolen from Salisbury’s home.
The devious plot is similar to a case in April last year, where an unoccupied rental home was stripped bare when a Craigslist ad invited people to take anything they wanted. Looters took anything that was not bolted, including appliances, the front door and the kitchen sink.
In that case, Nichole Blackwell, the niece of the owner Laurie Raye, was charged with the hoax. She was reportedly upset that Raye evicted her mother from the house.
The pair that posted the fake ad have been charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree, two counts of computer crime and one count of theft.
P.S – Whoever went to Salisbury’s home, please return his stuff to the police.