DOCUMENT: Internet, Crime

Cruel Craigslist Hoaxers Busted

Burgling Oregon couple's ad triggered ransacking of victim's home

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Cruel Craigslist Hoaxers Busted

APRIL 1--A week after dozens of people ransacked an Oregon home in response to a Craigslist ad offering its contents for free, police have arrested a couple for orchestrating the online hoax as part of a bid to cover up an earlier burglary at the property.

Brandon and Amber Herbert were nabbed last night for allegedly posting the March 22 Craigslist ad, which claimed that the Jacksonville ranch's owner had to leave town so suddenly that his belongings--which included a horse--were available for the taking. The Herberts, investigators charge, did this to cover up their prior theft of several saddles and other items from the garage of the rural southern Oregon house, which is owned by contractor Robert Salisbury.

After learning of the Craigslist ad, Salisbury returned to his property to find about 30 people rummaging through his home and remaining belongings. After subpoenaing Craigslist records, Jackson County Sheriff's Office investigators traced the online posting to the Herberts, according to this probable cause affidavit. As a result, Brandon, 29, and Amber, 28, were both hit with burglary and computer crime charges. They are pictured in the above mug shots. (3 pages)