Frugality Gone Wild : Home Contents Stolen In A Craigslist Hoax

by The Happy Rock on March 26, 2008

looting-stealing-ransack.jpgI have seen people on Slick Deals do things that skirt the line of honesty and legality in order to get a great deal. I can even relate to getting caught up in the hype of certain deal or the possibility of free stuff. I have even contemplated doing something that I wouldn’t have regretted in the midst self created frugality hysteria. But when I read about a Craigslist hoax gone wrong, I couldn’t even believe it without reading the original article.

Robert Salisbury of Oregon came home one day to find 30 people rummaging through his house and filing there vehicles with his stuff. When he confronted the looters, they repeatedly dismissed him by referring to a printout of a Craigslist ad. Somehow a computer printout from a classified listing site gave people the right to take stuff that wasn’t theirs. By the time that the police arrived, many of his possessions were already gone. He was smart enough to grab some license plates, but the police will have to try and track down the rest and the person who initiated the hoax.

What started the whole outrageous situations was someone who made a craigslist post that said Mr. Salisbury had to leave town quickly and that he was giving away all his stuff for free.

Has anyone heard of anything so ridiculous in the name of saving a few bucks?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

spillingbuckets March 26, 2008 at 7:19 am

I have heard of this type of thing before, it’s really sad. What bothers me most is that people didn’t stop pillaging when he came home and tried to tell them that the craiglist ad was wrong.


Watson - Team Building Philadelphia March 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I had read about this and was baffled. I feel for the guy and wonder what kind of people think they can go through an entire house and pilfer anything they want. Did nothing go off saying this might be wrong? Or did they just think, oh well his loss. It is sad and I hope the guy gets help.


The Happy Rock March 27, 2008 at 10:12 pm

@Watson – I suspect their logic was blinded my the hysteria, or they are just plain criminal. I know that I would have had a tough time not getting violent. I thought he handled it pretty impressively.


Leslie Raymond March 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm

I use craigslist to sell stuff all the time – just last week I was astounded to find another gal with a size 11 foot who wanted my unused Uggs in sunny california. There are constant warnings to Craigslist.org users to be careful, to use their judgement, and of course the old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” I can’t believe this poor man wasn’t able to convince people that they were stealing his stuff, and that people thought a printout from the internet made it “true.” This just makes me evem more wary to let strangers come to my house to help me declutter and pay the rent at the same time. Not all people suck, but these ones sure did!


The Happy Rock March 27, 2008 at 10:11 pm

@Leslie – It is pretty crazy. I have yet to use Craigslist, but I am weary about meeting people at their house or having them come to mine. I have made an eBay transaction or two in person, but we met at a neutral location.


Will March 28, 2008 at 1:43 am

That’s pretty crazy. I have seen some pretty crazy things posted on Craigslist but you would think people would have the common sense to know it was false. Locally I have seen a few false yard sales posted on craigslist to the bewilderment of the people that live at the house and have people showing up at 6am.

It is pretty amazing sometimes to see the things that are given away for free on sites like craigslist and freecycle. Where it is really unbelievable is that the people didn’t (or didn’t want to) believe the homeowner.

It’s a crazy world!


Rachel @ Master Your Card March 28, 2008 at 7:20 am

I cannot believe that people would actually respond to that sort of advertisement. Surely no one woudl give away all their posession like that even if they were leaving town they woudl be far more likely to give them to friends / family/charity. I find it hard to believe that people took the ad seriously…but obviously they did.


Credit Crunch April 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I’ve never heard of something like that before and wouldn’t expect it in Oregon lol.

That’s pretty bizarre actually, 30 people is a lot of people to I would of been running for my buddies to come sort of who ever was still in my house. The guy must be out quite a bit money and a hefty insurance premium.


Jerry August 1, 2008 at 3:01 am

We have sold things on Craigslist before, but shortly before our recent move my wife posted some items that we would be selling. She then flew out West with our daughter, leaving me to complete the sale. Neither of the two women I emailed came to pick up the items, and I am pretty sure that it was because I am a male. While that makes me sad, I think that they probably made the best decision available to them. They do not know me, so it was safer for them to stay away. I totally understand. They had no insurance that I was not a creep.
Now… how did those 30 people gain access to his house? That’s such an odd story!


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