Woman's house emptied after fake Craigslist ad

Woman's house emptied after fake Craigslist ad
TACOMA, Wash. - The ad on Craigslist invited people to help themselves to anything at a woman's house in Tacoma. But the woman who owns the house wasn't the one who posted the ad.

Now she's trying to recover thousands of dollars that she lost.

Someone clearly thought the prank would be funny, but Laurie Raye says she hasn't stopped crying since she showed up to her mother's ransacked and emptied house.

The ad placed on the popular web site invited people to take "items outside this home and in the garage on the 1200 block of East 64th Street," saying that it was all was free for the taking.

Raye had recently evicted a tenant and cleaned out the rental, but that didn't stop people from walking off with something.

Those who read the ad took it literally, taking everything from the house -- including the kitchen sink and water heater. Light fixtures, wires, doors, and any other salvageable part of the house were also stolen.

Damaged furniture and other property now litter the front yard.

Tacoma police say they flagged the ad a few days earlier because of what it said. When the home owner reported the burglary police made the connection.

Detective Gretchen Ellis said this incident should serve as another reminder to think twice any time you see an ad on the web.

"We've had prostitution, we've had fraudulent scams, we've had rental scams, that type of thing," she said. "You just have to remember on Craigslist that it's a good resource, but you have to take those things with a grain of salt."

On Thursday, Jim Buckmaster, chief executive officer at craigslist, said officials "have released all the information we have" about the ad.

It was posted last Friday and was on the site for less than two hours before it was flagged down by users.

Ellis said it will likely be difficult to track down whoever posted the fake ad.