A hoax Craigslist advertisement resulted in an Oregon man losing a sizable chunk of his possessions as hoards of bargain-hunters descended upon his home in a free-for-all grab.
A number of ads apparently popped up on Saturday afternoon, claiming that the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to take leave in a hurry. As such, all his belongings, including a horse, were now free for the taking. The problem was that the victim, Robert Salisbury, had no such plans. In fact, if not for a call he received from a concerned do-gooder, he could well have returned to his home to find it totally cleaned out.
On his way home he [Robert Salisbury] stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater. "I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury said. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did." The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings. Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.
According to Salisbury, the trespassers tried to brush him off initially with printouts of the ad. By the time Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrived, several vehicles laden with his possessions had already taken off.
The case is now in the hands of the police who are working with the Craigslist legal team. In the meantime, items can be returned with no questions asked. If caught with Salisbury's possessions though, prosecution is likely.
Are these people just plain idiots, or playing the fool, buoyed by the mob of other such "bargain-hunters"? What preventive measures do you reckon could be taken to guard against such malicious hoaxes?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.