Craigslist Hoax Actually a Burglary Scam

By April 04, 2008

Two suspects are being held by police on suspicion of posting a phony ad on inviting the public to rummage through an Oregon man’s home to cover their trail of thievery. has been in the news again du

e to the recent robbery of Robert Salisbury’s Oregon home. Initially considered a hoax, investigators identified the IP address where the fake posting came from and tracked computer files to Amber Herbert, 28, and Brandon Herbert, 29. Deputies determined that the couple had stolen goods from a garage at Salisbury’s place a few days before posting the Craigslist ad and sold the saddles over the Internet. The Herberts have been charged with burglary, theft and computer crimes. On a Saturday, March 22, Robert Salisbury came home to witness people loading his possessions into their vehicles. When he protested, people revealed copies of the Craigslist “come get all my crap – Free?” invitation (supposedly posted by Salisbury), insisting that because the offer was on the Web, it had to be true and refused to return his things. Some of Salisbury's belongings have been returned since the crime made headlines, but he is still out thousands of dollars in goods. Officers indicate that anyone hoarding any of Salisbury’s possessions is also in danger of prosecution. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time a Pacific Northwest home was ransacked as a result of a bogus Craigslist ad. In April 2007, a woman’s property was vandalized as a result of an enticing "Please help yourself to anything on the property” Craiglist post later found to have been posted by a vindictive (adult) niece. Once again, the question arises as to whether Craigslist is responsible for postings on its popular online community Website. And, I would say no. As the Federal Court of Appeals upheld, Craigslist serves as an intermediary party, not a publisher, and should not be held liable for ads posted on its website. By Kathleen Clark   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

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