Date registered: Sep 2004
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When the cat's away...
Oregon man's property ransacked after Craigslist hoax
12:24 PM PDT on Monday, March 24, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Ore. -- A pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost an Oregon man much of what he owned.
The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.
But Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave. The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.
The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. "They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true," Salisbury said. "It boggles the mind."
Jacksonville police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrived but by then several cars packed with Salisbury's property had fled.
He turned some license plate numbers over to police.
Michelle Easley had seen the ad that claimed Salisbury's horse had been declared abandoned by the sheriff's department and was free to a good home.
"I can't stand to see a horse suffer so I drove out there and got her," Easley said. "The horse didn't look abandoned. She is in good shape for being 32 years old."
But it looked odd, so she left a note on Salisbury's door explaining the ad. She then decided to call to make sure the ad was legitimate when the second similar ad appeared.
"I feel bad because I was a part of it," Easley said. "It felt right to call the police."
Fagan praised Easley's honestly but said prosecution was likely for anybody caught with Salisbury's property.
Items can be returned with no questions asked, Fagan said.
Detectives have contacted Craigslist's legal team to try to trace the ad.
Meanwhile, Salisbury could not even relax on his porch swing.
Someone took it.