Crimes committed through Craigslist

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Fake advertisements often lead to tragedy

What started as a free advertising space on the Internet has become a breeding ground for criminals. See gallery

 

Richard Beasley gets death in Craigslist murders
 

The postings on Craigslist promised jobs. But when three down-and-out men showed up one after another at a farm in Southeast Ohio, they didn't find work. Instead, they found self-styled street preacher Richard Beasley and his 16-year-old cohort Brogan Rafferty, who shot and killed them. It was only because of a fourth man who was shot and injured and escaped that the duo was brought to justice — eventually leading to a life sentence for Rafferty and a death sentence for Beasley.

 

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Philip Markoff, the 'Craigslist Killer,' dies in cell before trial

In April 2009, Boston medical student Philip Markoff, 24, was charged with the murder of Julissa Brisman and the armed robberies of two other women, all of whom were linked to adult services advertisements on Craigslist. Soon dubbed the "Craigslist Killer" in the press, Markoff was the son of an upper-middle-class family and engaged to be married. But while awaiting trial for his alleged crimes, Markoff committed suicide inside his jail cell, scrawling his ex-fiancee's name on the cell walls in blood before he died.

 

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Craigslist crowd strips house bare

After his home went into foreclosure in 2012, Woodstock, Ga., man Michael Vercher decided to post a message on Craigslist advertising a free giveaway of some of his furniture and household goods, which would be left in his driveway the next day. But before the scheduled event started and while Vercher and his family were out, huge crowds reportedly showed up at the house, many of whom broke inside and proceeded to take nearly all of their possessions.

 

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Charles Oliver suspected in 25 rapes

Woodstock, Ill., man Charles Oliver was recently charged with raping five women he allegedly solicited on Craigslist. Prosecutors say that there may be some 20 additional victims yet to be found. Oliver allegedly hired the women as escorts through the website, then bound, tortured and brutalized them against their will in a place he called his "playroom."

 

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Eric Everett arrested for prostitution and shoplifting

Eric Everett, 23, of Chesterfield, N.J., was arrested on charges of prostitution and shoplifting in September 2012 after allegedly meeting Brittany Smith, 20, on Craigslist and offering to pay her for sex. Everett and Smith allegedly had three sexual encounters at Princeton's off-campus bookstore, where Everett was employed. They also stole food from the store each time, police said.

 

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Student Morgan Triplett charged with staging rape

In one of the more bizarre instances of crime on Craigslist, 20-year-old college student Morgan Triplett is accused of posting advertisements on Craigslist asking for someone to shoot her in the shoulder with a small handgun, and punch and kick her until she was bruised in exchange for sex. Triplett's plan, police say, was to stage a rape — something she allegedly did when she told police she'd been attacked by an unknown assailant while walking through the woods near Santa Cruz, Calif.
 

The Daily Mail story can be seen here

 

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'Casual encounter' of the wrong kind

After a phony ad went up on Craigslist in April 2010 about a "West Hartford soccer mom" who was "looking for group sex!" a crowd of 12 men showed up at the house advertised. But while most of the hopeful men were soon turned away empty-handed, one man, Richard Zeh, went to the wrong house next door, let himself in and accosted an 18-year-old woman inside. Zeh was eventually convicted and sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years' probation, while Philip Conran, the angry neighbor convicted of placing the fake ad, got three years' probation.
 

CBS's story

 

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Heiress Kathryn Kalikow arrested for allegedly selling heroin on Craigslist

Had undercover police officers only arrested 28-year-old Brian Whalen for allegedly selling heroin in New York, the crime likely wouldn't have made any headlines. But along with Whalen, police arrested 27-year-old Kathryn Kalikow, the daughter of former New York Post owner and multimillionaire Peter Kalikow, who allegedly helped Whalen run ads on Craigslist advertising heroin for sale.

 

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Robert Pham scams, then taunts 49ers fans in Super Bowl ticket fraud

When Bay Area resident Sharon Osgood sent $5,900 to a man she met on Craigslist, she thought she was getting Super Bowl XLVII tickets for her and her family. What she got instead was a box with a note inside that said, "Go Ravens! LOL!" After a two-month investigation, Alameda County Sheriff's deputies arrested 37-year-old Robert Pham, who besides allegedly being tied to the ticket scam, had more than a dozen aliases linked to him and, police say, had scammed others through Craigslist before.

 

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Wedding ring ad leads to kidnapping and murder

What started as a Craigslist post advertising a wedding ring for sale ended in the murder of Edgewood, Wash., father of two James Sanders in April 2010. Three young men and one young woman responded to the ad for the ring and went to Sanders' home on the pretext of buying it, tied up Sanders and his wife and then began beating their two children in an attempt to find more valuables. When Sanders tried to help his children, he was shot dead, and the four people responsible were eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

 

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Donna Jou disappears after meeting John Steven Burgess

Los Angeles college student Donna Jou is said to have last been seen on June 23, 2007, as she was climbing onto the back of a motorcycle with John Steven Burgess, a convicted sex offender whom she'd met through a Craigslist ad. Jou was never seen again. Burgess eventually pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, claiming Jou died of a drug overdose and that he dumped her in the ocean. Burgess served two years of a five-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and then, after his release, was sentenced to four more years for a parole violation after posting a Craigslist ad seeking to meet women in much the same way he had met Jou.

 

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Christian Marton killed in Craigslist car-ad robbery

When Dallas man Christian Marton showed up at a North Texas apartment complex in 2007 with several thousand dollars in cash, he thought he was there to buy a 1995 Chevrolet Caprice that he had found on Craigslist. Instead, Marton found Kendrick Demus and George Carter, the latter of whom shot Marton dead before the two robbed him. Later both men were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.

 

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Radio personality George Weber killed by boy he hired through Craigslist

The body of well-known ABC radio personality George Weber was found on March 22, 2009, at his apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. The tale that emerged after Weber's death involved a 16-year-old boy, John Katehis, who was hired by Weber for "rough sex" through an ad on Craigslist, and who subsequently murdered Weber by stabbing him more than 50 times. After a mistrial, in which Katehis argued that Weber was a sexual predator and that he killed him in self-defense, the teen was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Michael John Anderson lures woman to death with babysitter ad

Prosecutors said Michael John Anderson, 20, simply was looking for someone to kill when, in October 2007, he posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a babysitter. Katherine Ann Olson, 24, answered that ad, and when she arrived at Anderson's parents' home, he shot her in the head and then stuffed her body into the trunk of a car and drove the car out into the Burnsville Nature Preserve in Minnesota, where he abandoned it. Anderson is serving a life sentence for the crime.

 

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Alice Huff-Sims sells nonexistent baby on Craigslist

Alice Huff-Sims of Joplin, Mo., was never pregnant when she advertised a baby for sale on Craigslist in December 2010. After a series of emails between Huff-Sims and undercover police, the woman met with officers in a McDonald's parking lot and took a $200 advance payment for what she said was her recently conceived baby. Huff-Sims was convicted of felony stealing by deceit and sentenced to four years in prison.

 

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Rapist Jeffrey Gray lures roommate seeker

Jeffrey Gray went from an elected seat on the Salem, N.H., Planning Board to a bunk bed in a New Hampshire prison cell when, in the fall of 2012, he was convicted of using a woman's roommate ad on Craigslist to lure her to his house and rape her. Gray, a civil engineer who was 50 at the time of the crime, responded to the woman's advertised search for a "Fresh Start" and convinced her to come stay at his home. Once there, he wouldn't let her leave and assaulted her repeatedly over the course of three days.

 

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Prostitution runs rampant on Craigslist

Prostitution is one of the most common Craigslist-advertised crimes investigated by police. In 2009, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster got involved by filing a lawsuit to keep South Carolina's attorney general from pursuing criminal charges against the company. One day later, seven people were indicted on charges of running a Queens, N.Y.-based 24-hour prostitution ring on Craigslist. And one of the largest busts ever conducted took place in Seattle in 2006 when 104 people were arrested in an investigation that focused on Craigslist's "exotic services" section.

 

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Anne Marie Linscott seeks hit man via Craigslist

In 2009, then-49-year-old Anne Marie Linscott was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for attempting to hire a hit man to kill the wife of a man with whom she was having an affair. Linscott tried to recruit her would-be killer through Craigslist with an ad calling for "silent assassins" to "eradicate" the woman — though at least one responder to the ad reportedly mistook it for a freelance writing job.

 

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