Craig's List - EPIC failure in Georgia!

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Craig's List - EPIC failure in Georgia!
Pics in story - click on link at bottom.



Foreclosed Family Watches Helplessly as
Craigslist Crowds Strip House Bare


Oct 26, 2012

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- A family in Woodstock, who just lost their home of 20
years to foreclosure and are preparing to move out, lost even more on Wednesday.

And it was all because they inadvertently triggered what they now
call "mayhem" when they posted a craigslist ad Tuesday night.

Their online post was just a well-meaning ad for a giveaway of furniture and
other household items in their driveway outside the small house, a giveaway
scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

But big crowds showed up early, while the family was out, breaking into the
house and taking practically everything inside the house, in part because the
way that the craigslist ad was written gave them the idea that everything on
the property was up for grabs.

Wednesday night, Michael Vercher walked 11Alive's Jon Shirek through his
family's almost empty soon-to-be former home.

"Well, when we got to the house, I mean, pretty much -- this," he said as he
stepped from the foyer into the living room.

Their home -- ransacked, ravaged, raked over.

Almost everything inside -- gone.

"They came in and just tore the place up," he said.

People who responded to the family's craigslist ad showed up at the house earlier
than 10 a.m., before Vercher arrived there from work to supervise the giveaway.

And when he drove up to the house, he said, they had already broken into it,
helping themselves to almost everything inside.

And as the family was calling 911, he could not stop them.

"Everyone was inside the house; they were taking out items," he said. "There
were cars around the block. It was like ants in and out of the house."

He spoke of how they took, from inside the house, the only items that the
family wanted to take with them as they moved out -- family keepsakes, and
all their clothes -- everything but a few of their books, which were left scattered
across the carpet.

Vercher's fiancee, Dana Lamanac, was despondent; they took her guitars,
which were gifts from her father.

"There's two guitars that really mean a lot to me," Lamanac said. "They were
my dad's, and that's irreplaceable to me. That's really the only thing I want
back. I hope somebody has enough courage and respect for other people to
bring the stuff back. I mean it's like the only thing he gave to me. It really
means a lot to me."

Lamanac said she and Vercher's mother arrived at the house about the same
time Vercher did, thinking they were there in plenty of time to help distribute
the items outside that they'd intended to give to the people who showed up.

"When we got here, me and his mom jumped out of the car and said, 'This is
our stuff, don't take anything,' I mean, 'If you have something, put it back,'"
Lamanac said. "And this one woman actually, like, got in our faces and stuff,
and started saying no, and everybody else just kind of drifted by us and
didn't listen and took the stuff and left."

The mom, Pam Hobbs, bought the house 20 years ago when Michael was a
toddler and she was pregnant with her daughter, Anna. In the past few years
Hobbs and the rest of the family have struggled to keep up with the
mortgage. She's been out of work and looking for work, and they fell behind
in the mortgage. And the bank foreclosed.

They're moving into the basement of her mother's home nearby, temporarily.

Wednesday morning, when the family gathered back at their house to help
with the giveaway, "the front door was wide open and people were coming in
and out with our things," Hobbs said. "It was mayhem."

They immediately called 911, while telling people to get out of the house and
stop taking belongings from inside the house.

"And a lady had her truck loaded with my grandma's sewing machine," Hobbs
said. "And she wouldn't give it to me. So I had to call police and they got my
grandma's sewing machine back."

That was one of the few items the family recovered, but the crowd had
moved through the house quickly and most were gone quickly.

Here is the online ad that the family placed Tuesday night:

"Fairly large, free yard sale. Moving and we want everything to go for free.
So come over and take whatever you want and how much you want. Here
are a couple of items that will be there: Couch, chairs, lots of household and
kitchen items, appliances, a wardrobe, desk, recliner, movies, lots of books,
lamps, women's and teens' clothing, etc. And also a box of free food with lots
of cans. Please take only if you need it. We're starting at 10 a.m., October 24th,
and we'll finish when everything's gone."


Vercher said he now understands why people misunderstood the family's ad
to mean that they were giving away everything, inside and outside the
house, because of the way they worded it.

"Never thought in a million years that they would come and take all of our
stuff in the house," he said, emphasizing that he had planned to arrive from
work before anyone else showed up. "They probably thought that they were
allowed to come [inside], and they saw other people coming in and out, and
they thought it was OK."

On Thursday the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office released the incident
report that was written by the deputy who responded to the 911 call.

The deputy wrote of arriving to find two women outside the house arguing
over Hobbs' sewing machine. One of them had already taken it from inside
the house and had loaded it into the back of a pickup truck, and they were
arguing over which one saw it first. Neither one intended to return it to
Hobbs; the deputy changed the women's minds.

"I went and spoke with [the women] and they said they loaded up the free
stuff they wanted... [and] went on to say there were a whole bunch of
people inside the house, outside the house, in the driveway, all of them
loading up what they thought to be 'free' stuff. I asked how she heard of this
free stuff give away. She said it was posted in Craigslist. And the ad in
Craigslist said everything must go. I told her Ms. Hobbs wanted her sewing
machine back, and she said that was fine. I helped unload the sewing
machine from the truck and placed it near the curb."

The deputy then spoke with Vercher, Hobbs' son.

"He seemed upset and said no one was supposed to go inside the house and
take items. I sympathized with him how I understood that, but explained to
him that when placing an ad in Craigslist for 'free' stuff to be given away,
someone should at least be at the residence when the people start showing
up. I explained to him that there were several cars coming and going from
this address when I arrived, and who knows how many came and went before
I got there. I told him if he needed us for anything else, to call us back. He
said he understood, then went down the street a little ways to retrieve the
sewing machine from the curb. I then departed the scene, going back in-service."

A spokesman with the Sheriff's Office said Thursday that detectives are
seeking the public's help to develop information about the property taken
from inside the home and the people who first broke into the home.

"It's just a nightmare," Vercher said Wednesday night said, shaking his head,
after taking an inventory of all that was missing from inside the house.

They have no insurance on the contents of the house.

Vercher insisted the family was speaking publicly about all of this with a
single purpose in mind -- to appeal to those who were inside the house to
return only the sentimental family keepsakes; the rest they're welcome to keep.

"Lived in this house [with his family] for 20 years, my whole life," he said. "It's
our family home. We have to get out because of the foreclosure. We don't
have much and now we have even less. You'd like to think there's good
people. I mean, I hope they would have a good enough heart to bring our
stuff back. We don't hold any grudges against them, we just want our stuff
back. I mean, some of that stuff is irreplaceable."

No questions asked, he said.

Vercher is also looking at online ads to see if anyone is now trying to sell
their keepsakes.

"We're not asking for handouts," he and the others said repeatedly, "just for
what means so much to us to be returned to us."

Lesson learned, they said.

Thursday, 11Alive's Help Desk responded to an outpouring of community
concern for the family as a result of their self-inflicted craigslist nightmare,
and arranged for Costco at Towne Center and Cumberland to offer the family
a $400 gift card to replace clothing and other essential items, and for
Shepherd Center in Atlanta to give them three guitars.

A grateful Pam Hobbs said the biggest lesson the family is taking away from
all this is that "there are really more good people in this world than there are
people that are not nice."

Vercher said that anyone who would like to contact the family about their
keepsakes can email him at [email protected].


Foreclosed family watches helplessly as craigslist crowds strip house bare | 11alive.com
 

TOMMYTHUNDERS

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i've listed many items in the craigslist "free" section over the years. it doesn't matter what it is, but i'm always bombarded with emails. old toilets (while remodeling some bathrooms), old blinds, cardboard boxes, a broken microwave, an old utility sink, etc.... doesn't matter. as soon as you put "free" next to it people lose their minds. For each of those items i received about 15 emails an hour until i took the ad down... for junk. i guess now we know what happens when you put an ad up offering all the stuff in your house for free.

in general this doesn't make a ton of sense to me though. you're strapped for cash to the point that your home is getting foreclosed on, why wouldn't you have a proper yard sale? make a little money off of having to lose everything.
 

MineGoesTo11

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i've listed many items in the craigslist "free" section over the years. it doesn't matter what it is, but i'm always bombarded with emails. old toilets (while remodeling some bathrooms), old blinds, cardboard boxes, a broken microwave, an old utility sink, etc.... doesn't matter. as soon as you put "free" next to it people lose their minds. For each of those items i received about 15 emails an hour until i took the ad down... for junk. i guess now we know what happens when you put an ad up offering all the stuff in your house for free.

in general this doesn't make a ton of sense to me though. you're strapped for cash to the point that your home is getting foreclosed on, why wouldn't you have a proper yard sale? make a little money off of having to lose everything.

The smart play would be to lure them inro the house, lock them in the basement and slowly sell their organs on the black market.
 

randelli

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Sad story! People want to get something for nothing...

I had an old refrigerator that I tried to give away for 1 week. It sat in my driveway with a "free" sign - no one touched it. I finally put a "$25" sign on it and someone stole it overnight. Winner!
 

TOMMYTHUNDERS

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The smart play would be to lure them inro the house, lock them in the basement and slowly sell their organs on the black market.

25301410.jpg
 

Kamen_Kaiju

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I felt bad for them until I read the ad they posted.

Words have meaning, they're not just random letters thrown together.
 

PraXis

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I've never had to list anything. I remember cleaning out the basement and placing all the junk on the curb. It was mostly gone in a day.
 

cynic79

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I felt bad for them until I read the ad they posted.

Words have meaning, they're not just random letters thrown together.

Yes, because "Fairly large, free yard sale" clearly means "Break into house and take everything inside."
 

Kamen_Kaiju

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Yes, because "Fairly large, free yard sale" clearly means "Break into house and take everything inside."

"Fairly large, free yard sale. Moving and we want everything to go for free.
So come over and take whatever you want and how much you want.
Here
are a couple of items that will be there: Couch, chairs, lots of household and
kitchen items, appliances, a wardrobe, desk, recliner, movies, lots of books,
lamps, women's and teens' clothing, etc. And also a box of free food with lots
of cans. Please take only if you need it. We're starting at 10 a.m., October 24th,
and we'll finish when everything's gone."


The public lately seems to be rather moronic though, right? So it's easy to see why people thought, "everything must go, take what you want."

I'm not condoning their actions but I see pretty clearly where the miss-communication happened.

You have someone who can't clearly write what they mean, and you have people reading it assuming every word is gospel?

Train Wreck.
 

Howard2k

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I would not have interpreted that ad as 'break in and steal shit' but I was one of the lucky ones that seems to have at least a token amount of common sense. Yeah the wording was bad though. Very poorly thought out.
 

Sinmastah

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I would not have interpreted that ad as 'break in and steal shit' but I was one of the lucky ones that seems to have at least a token amount of common sense. Yeah the wording was bad though. Very poorly thought out.

One moron breaks into a home, the rest come in, mis-interpretting a craigslist ad. Sucks, but I'm sure most people there had good intentions, and only a select few assholes just took a lot of the things.
 

Ermghoti

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I felt bad for them until I read the ad they posted.

Words have meaning, they're not just random letters thrown together.

I'm saving this story for the next time somebody is arguing that precise language usage is nothing but pretentious pedantry.
 

cynic79

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One moron breaks into a home, the rest come in, mis-interpretting a craigslist ad. Sucks, but I'm sure most people there had good intentions, and only a select few assholes just took a lot of the things.

Some of the individuals may have had good intentions, but once one person broke in, a mob mentality likely took over.

And mobs are amoral and stupid.
 

SteveGangi

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I've never had to list anything. I remember cleaning out the basement and placing all the junk on the curb. It was mostly gone in a day.

I bet, if you put a Hefty bad full of dog shit out and put a FREE! label on it, someone would take it :naughty: :D
 

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