Criminals clean-out house after woman lists items on Craigslist

(NBC) – Buyer and seller beware! Springfield police are looking into another Craigslist mishap. The classified ads website works well for a lot of buyers and sellers but it didn't for a woman from Springfield.

Lynette Hunter recently decided to downsize, and sell her house that she had lived in for 25 years. Her son told her the best way to get rid of a bunch of stuff was to post an ad on craigslist. She wrote that anything sitting in her front yard and garage would be free for the taking.

Hunter says it worked. People showed up and took the stuff that was set out. However, they also broke into the house and ripped off other stuff -- stuff that she didn't want to get rid of. Thieves took all kinds of stuff, including her dishwasher and her stove.

Police say it's unlikely she will ever get anything back because this is such a tough thing to investigate.

"If an individual shows up and they've responded to this ad that says come get free stuff, and another person who is already there who is also loading up stuff and says, 'Hey, the house is open and I think everything inside can go, too,' then how do you prove intent from the individual who shows up being told that?" asked Springfield Police Maj. Kevin Routh.

"They had to go through two locked doors to get in there," said Hunter. "There definitely have to be people who are targeting craigslist as a chance to go steal stuff."

Police say, in another recent case, a man wanted to buy some stereo equipment, and the seller wanted to meet him behind a Walmart store at midnight. Of course, police say, you shouldn't do that. If you're looking to buy or sell, don't meet in a discreet location at an odd time like midnight.

It sounds like common sense but police say people fall for this and then can get themselves into trouble.

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