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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: craigslist

Piranhas, alligator seized on South Hill

Piranhas and a small alligator were seized from a South Hill apartment on Friday. (submitted photos)

Piranhas offered for trade on Craigslist led state fish and game agents to seize several of the exotic, human-eating fish from an apartment on Spokane’s lower South Hill.

 The rare find took another surprising twist when agents also found a small alligator in Christopher Ryan Harper’s apartment at 1206 W. 6th Ave. on Friday, as well as a suspected marijuana-selling operation, police say.

The alligator is being cared for at SpokAnimal, the piranhas were killed and taken as evidence, said Madonna Luers, spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Luers said she couldn’t confirm the number of piranhas seized. Police said 20, but Harper said he only had six.

Read the rest of my story here.

Deer Park house ‘rental’ actually a scam

Brooke Bear was surprised when several people stopped by her home interested in renting it.

They referenced the ad she posted on Craigslist, but she isn’t renting out the house; she’s selling it, and she never posted an ad on Craigslist.

Bear knew something was fishy, so she hopped online and found the ad, which included a picture and description of her four-bedroom house, located in a rural area south of Deer Park, as well as an email address using her name.

“I was kind of scared,” she said. “I pulled it up and thought, ‘Who is doing this?’ You just kind of go, ‘Ew, creepy.’ ”

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Owner finds Craigslist ad for own home

An occupied home in north Spokane was recently listed for rent on Craigslist by someone in Africa.

The owner earned about the ad when a couple arrived at her home asking about it. The woman is trying to sell he home - not rent it - and said she never posted an ad on Craigslist. Several other people have also stopped by the home asking about the rental.

The woman emailed the poster and was told the owner was in Africa, had keys to the home and required a minimum of $1,700 be sent to him through Western Union for rent and security deposit.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Brandon Armstrong says the ad was posted through an Internet service provider in Nigeria. The ad has been been removed.

A sheriff's office news release called the case  “a reminder to the public that if a Craigslist offer seems too good to be true, it may very well be,” though it's unknown who would consider sending $1,700 to a homeowner you've never meet for a Craigslist rental ad “too good to be true.”

Police: Fraud suspect bilked 17+ people

Police say a recently arrested fraud suspected swindled people out of money through false car advertisements and Craigslist rental ads.

Eric Pittsley, 35, of Newman Lake, was arrested Feb. 1 in an investigation that detectives say includes at least 17 victims, officials said today.

Some victims said Pittsley introduced himself as an auto repo man who could get various cars at 'unbelievably” low prices, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The victims would paid Pittsley a deposit of about $500 and arranged to have a vehicle delivered, but it would never arrive, Chamberlin wrote.

Other victims responded to a Craigslist ad Pittlsey posted regarding home for rent through a Rent-to-Own program, or Pittsley contacted them through ads they posted seeking rental properties, according to the sheriff's office.

Pittsley did not own the home he advertised but would meet with potential renters, tell this them the homes were about to be vacated and collected the first month's rent and security deposit. He sometimes asked for additional months upfront and said they could get one month free if they paid, Chamberlin said. Many victims received a signed lease and key, but the keys turned out not to work for the properties in question.

“The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Spokane Valley Police Department would like to use these unfortunate events to remind everyone that they need to be aware of scams and to be cautious of people who place free ads on the internet,” Chamberlin wrote.  “While the internet is a great tool for the community to find excellent opportunities and for businesses to reach out, when it comes to your money changing hands, the proper paperwork should accompany the transaction or agreements entered into.  When paying in cash always ask for receipts.  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Check around if you’re unsure.  Ask for references or ask others who have experience in the type of dealings you’re pursuing.”

Mistaken jail release cited in murder spree

AP Enterprise: Rules ignored in Craigslist case
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Texas parolee now suspected in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme was mistakenly released from Ohio custody last summer not once but twice.

 Richard Beasley, 52, should never have been released from the county jail in Akron, where he was being held on drug charges this summer, said Texas officials and the head of a national commission that oversees prisoner-transfer rules.

The brother of a victim whose body was found last month called Beasley's release tragic. Ohio is now investigating what went wrong, an inquiry that state officials called unprecedented.

Authorities say they are planning to charge Beasley with killing three men and wounding a fourth between August and November.

Yet Beasley left jail on bond July 13, was rearrested July 14 after a traffic stop, then let go again despite the existence of Texas warrants asking he be kept in custody, according to interviews and records reviewed by The Associated Press.

“He shouldn't have been released either time,” said Harry Hageman, executive director of the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision, which oversees rules that have the force of federal law.

“Because there was a warrant from Texas, there's no bond, regardless of the arrest or defense,” he said.

The regulation for bail that governs inmates wanted by another state is clear, according to commission rules: “An offender against whom retaking procedures have been instituted by a sending or receiving state shall not be admitted to bail or other release conditions in any state.”

Ohio has begun an investigation into Beasley's release, the first such review that the head of Ohio's interstate parole council can recall.

“It seems to be a case that warrants the attention of the Ohio council,” Sarah Andrews, chairman of the Ohio Council for Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, told the AP.

Less than a month after Beasley was released from Summit County Jail for the second time, on July 15, a previously homeless Akron man was shot in the head in in rural southeastern Ohio.

Authorities discovered the body of Ralph Geiger more than three months later, on Nov. 25, as they investigated the deaths of two men and the wounding of a third who answered a phony Craigslist ad for work on a cattle farm.

Read the rest of the story by clicking the link below.

Craigslist sales lead to 2 theft arrests

Spokane Valley police arrested two theft suspects this week after victims found their stolen items on Craigslist.

Dana R. McCauley, 40, is accused of stealing cameras from Wholesale Sports at the Spokane Valley Mall.

Employees told police Monday that a man stole five cameras worth $1,600 in the last week and a half, and that the cameras were being sold online. Spokane Valley police property crimes detectives arranged to buy one of the cameras from McCauley and arrested him on theft and trafficking stolen property charges.

On Tuesday, employees at USF Reddaway reported the theft of four or five flat-screen TVs from the business' loading docks in recent months. One of the TV was advertised on Craigslist by a relative of a contract security guard. The man said he didn't now of its stolen status.

The guard, Aaron D. Edvalson, 31, cooperated with detectives and confessed to stealing four televisions, according to police. He faces theft and stolen property charges.
  

Craigslist ad leads to gunpoint robbery

A woman who advertised a diamond ring for sale online was robbed at gunpoint by a man who threatened to kill her, authorities say.

Tyler J. Bowers, 19, is accused of robbing the woman when she arrived at a home in the 13400 block of South Clearlake in Medical Lake on Thursday with her son and 18-month-old daughter.

The woman intended to sell a ring aftrer Bowers called to inquire about an advertisement on Craigslist. She said bowers pointed a handgun at her about two feet from her face and ran away with the ring. She feared Bowers would shoot her, her husband and the child, but no one was injured.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Ray Miller responded to the home and said in court documents that Bowers admitted to using a gun to rob the couple. Miller talked to the teen's mother, who owns the home and gave him permission to search it. Miller found a plastic airsoft gun in a book bag in Bower's room and recovered the diamond ring on a dresser.

Bowers remains in jail after appearing in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree robbery charge.

4th conviction in Craigslist murder

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The fourth and final defendant in the robbery and killing of a man who advertised a ring on Craigslist has been convicted in Tacoma.

The Pierce County prosecutor's office says 24-year-old Clabon Berniard will face the equivalent of life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 9 in Superior Court.

The jury found him guilty Monday of robbery, burglary, assault and murder charges for the April 2010 home invasion shooting of 43-year-old James Sanders of Edgewood.

Three others who went to the home pretending to be interested buyers, Kiyoshi Higashi, Amanda Knight and Joshua Reese were convicted and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison. 

Berniard's lawyer argued he wasn't in the home at the time.

Past coverage:

May 5, 2010: Craigslist murder suspects arrested in California

100-year sentence in Craigslist killing

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — One of the people convicted of killing a Pierce County man who had listed a ring for sale on Craigslist was given a 100-year prison sentence Tuesday in Tacoma.

The 22-year-old Joshua N. Reese was convicted June 7 of murder, burglary, robbery and assault for his role in the April 2010 home invasion attack in Edgewood where Jim Sanders was fatally shot.

Co-defendants Kiyoshi Higashi and Amanda Knight were convicted earlier this year. Higashi was sentenced to 124 years in prison and Knight to 71 years.

The News Tribune reports the trial for Clabon Berniard is set for later this year.

Past coverage:

May 5, 2010: Craigslist murder suspects arrested in California

Woman convicted in Craigslist killing

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A jury has convicted a woman for her role in a fatal home-invasion robbery in Washington state that was linked to an Internet ad for a diamond ring.

The trial of 22-year-old Amanda Knight went to the Pierce County jury Wednesday. Jurors returned the guilty verdict Thursday on charges of murder, robbery and assault.

Knight's lawyer argued Knight was forced to participate by Kiyoshi Higashi, who already has been convicted of shooting Jim Sanders in front of his family last April at his Edgewood home. Higashi was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.
 
The News Tribune reports two other men, Clabon Berniard and Joshua Reese, have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges and await trial.
 
Detectives allege the four went to Sanders' home posing as customers who wanted to buy a diamond ring that Sanders posted for sale on Craigslist.

Guilty verdict in 1st Craigslist killing trial

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Jurors have convicted the first Craigslist killing defendant to go on trial of first-degree murder in the death of a Tacoma-area man gunned down in his home after advertising a diamond ring for sale.

Pierce County Superior Court jurors deliberated only a few hours Tuesday before convicting 23-year-old Kiyoshi Higashi (right) in the death last April of 43-year-old Jim Sanders. Higashi was also convicted of first-degree burglary and two counts each of second-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

The News Tribune says Higashi could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Higashi is the first of four defendants to go to trial. He took the witness stand in combative testimony Monday and admitted taking part in the robbery, but denied shooting Sanders.

Sanders' brother, Derek, and widow, Charlene Sanders, are pictured above hugging supporters after the verdict.

Past coverage:

May 5: Craigslist murder suspects arrested in California

Man owes $15k for Craigslist rental scam

A Spokane man who swindled several potential renters out of about $15,000 has been sentenced to a year pin prison.

Jeffery S. Crutchfield, 40, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was ordered to spend a year and a day behind bars and pay $15,070 in restitution.

Crutchfield was considered a model tenant at 1328 E. Wabash Ave. when he began advertising the home for rent on Craigslist. He collected deposits from at least seven potential renters, but when they showed up to move in, they realized they'd been duped, court documents say.

Crutchfield has been in jail since his arrest last October.

He has previous theft convictions in Oregon, as well as a third-degree assault conviction relating to a 1996 drunken driving crash that paralyzed a woman. He was sentenced then to 13 months and jail and denied responsibility for the crash, according to previously published.

Police probe 3rd kid-for-sale Craigslist ad

For the third time in six months, Spokane-area law enforcement are investigating a child-for-sale advertisement on Craigslist.

A citizen called 911 to report the posting on July 29, but a dispatcher noticed the ad had been removed from Craigslist .

The man brought a copy of the ad to the Spokane Police Department, which had been posted July 29 at 12:56 p.m. and was titled “7 year old boy - $3000 (Spokane).” The ad reads “nice boy needs home will trade for anything.”

Spokane police Detective Curtis Kendall obtained a search warrant for the Internet protocol address used to post the ad, according to a search warrant filed Monday in Spokane County Superior Court.

Kendall said probable cause exists to charge the ad’s author with felony child selling/buying, according to the search warrant.

Police recommend that same charge against Gregory Edison for an ad posted last month that his girlfriend has said was just a bad joke.

In April, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Sandpoint police determined a boy-for-sale ad discovered a month earlier was the work of a bored teen.

Accused baby seller’s wife: It was a joke

The wife of a man accused of trying to sell their 6-month-old daughter on Craigslist said her husband meant the ad to be a joke.

“We all have different understanding(s) of jokes,” Michelle Edison said in an e-mail to the newspaper. “We have discussed it and he now realizes how others took it.”

She described her husband, 44-year-old Gregory G. Edison, as a “great dad” and said she has “no worries about him.”

Police are requesting prosecutors charge Gregory Edison with attempted child selling. The ad was posted Monday but removed by Craigslist within an hour.

Police learned of it from a TV news station. Police say Greg Edison called the station, then police, after learning of the investigation.

The Edisons live with their baby and 2-year-old child; police don’t believe Michelle Edison knew of the ad.

Man faces felony for Craigslist baby ad

Police are recommending a felony charge against a Spokane man they believe advertised his 6-month-old daughter for sale on Craigslist.

Gregory G. Edison, 44, listed himself as the seller on the ad, which was posted on Monday but removed by Craigslist within an hour, police said Thursday.

A TV news station told police of the ad after a citizen called. Police spoke with Edison, who lives with his wife, the baby and a 2-year-old child, and believe only he was responsible for the ad, according to a news release.

The ad included photos of an infant and said: “We don’t get along. She won’t let me feed her or hold her. She cries from the time she wakes up til the time she goes to bed. She lets my friends male or female hold and feed her. Her and her mom are always fussin’. We had a 4 hour standoff just to get her to take the bottle from me. She will be on the porch waiting on you…LOL.”

A similar advertisement for a 4-year-old boy in February was linked to a Sandpoint teenager who said he posted it as a joke.

Police are requesting prosecutors charge Edison with attempted child selling.

Edison is a felon with convictions for first-degree robbery in King County in 2001, fourth-degree assault in Spokane in 2008, as well as a drug conviction from 2007.

‘Judge Judy’ spot helps ID fraud suspect

An appearance on the TV reality show “Judge Judy” has brought a Spokane man more than just 15 minutes of syndicated fame.

Joshua J. Mulvey, 26, now faces new criminal charges in an Internet fraud scheme after a Snohomish County man who saw the episode recognized Mulvey as the same person who conned him out of $2,500 last year, police say.

Mulvey appeared on the courtroom drama within the last two years with his ex-girlfriend, who he was suing for repayment on a car he said he sold to help her financially.

But the show’s host, former family court judge Judith Sheindlin, was unsympathetic.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we try to deceive,” Sheindlin said. “Goodbye Mr. Mulvey; from this court you get nothing. You’re a con man.”

Watch the episode below, and read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 28: Teen killer accused of assault at jail

Feb. 19: Craigslist fraud suspect arrested

Spokane locals on tv from john moham on Vimeo.

Boy-for-sale ad linked to Sandpoint teen

An Internet ad offering a 4-year-old boy for $5,000 that launched a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office investigation and drew international attention turned out to be the work of a bored North Idaho teenager.

Sandpoint police tracked the Craigslist ad to a 17-year-old boy, who told an investigator he posted it as a joke.

“He was home with nothing else to do, and he thought it’d be funny,” said Sandpoint police Lt. Corey Coon, who took over the investigation after Spokane County investigators tracked the computer that created the post to that area of North Idaho.

But authorities aren’t laughing. Coon is investigating possible criminal charges such as identity theft, fraud or violation of Idaho’s adoption laws. He hopes to send his report to the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office by Monday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 20: Boy-for-sale Craigslist query switches states

March 17: Boy-for-sale ad triggers investigation

Boy-for-sale Craigslist query switches states

Investigation into a Spokane Craigslist ad that offered a 4-year-old boy for sale has been transferred to another law enforcement agency.

A sheriff’s deputy tracked Internet Provider address information for the posting and believes the post may have originated outside of Washington, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office announced today.

A law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction will continue the investigation “to determine if the ad was a hoax or an actual offer to sell a child,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Police haven’t specified which jurisdiction.

The investigation began March 1 when a Spokane woman told police of a Craigslist ad she spotted on Feb. 28 that offered a boy named Gavin for $5,000.

It included a photo of a small child in a yellow fireman’s helmet and a dark shirt with the word “adventure” on the front.

The ad had been posted just before 11 p.m. the previous day but had been removed by Craigslist when the woman returned to the site after copying the text – but not the photo – into a computer word processing program.

The ad’s author claimed to be the boy’s father.

The author said the boy was a “great kid” but that he could no longer afford to care for him. The boy loves basketball, football and soccer but doesn’t play with cars, refuses to eat vegetables and can scream for hours at a time.

“But he always has a smile on his face. He doesn’t fuss very much, but when he does he just screams for hours. I usually just put him in his closet until he stops and that usually works,” according to the ad.

“It is going to kill me to do this but as I stated before I cannot afford to keep him. His Motherr is out of the picture and my parents no longer talk to me since I’ve had Gavin,” the ad read, according to the search warrant. “So I don’t know what else to do other than find a good family with kids or a couple that wants a son.”

The seller, who identified himself as Rick Obelophy, said he wouldn’t give the boy “to anyone.”

“I want to meet with you and make sure you will be fit parents,” the ad read.

Past coverage:

Boy-for-sale add triggers investigation

Sale ad for 4-year-old prompts investigation

For sale: One 4-year-old boy.

That recent advertisement on a popular classifieds Web site has triggered a sheriff’s investigation into who was behind it. Was it a hoax, a desperate cry for help or something more sinister?

Investigators haven’t determined, but they’ve seized records from Craigslist they hope will hold clues to the author’s identity. For now, they’re remaining tight-lipped about an investigation that began when a Spokane woman spotted a Craigslist ad offering a boy named Gavin for $5,000, and contacted authorities.

“It’s kind of at a delicate point right now,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

A Spokane woman saw the ad late Feb. 28. It included a photo of a small child in a yellow fireman’s helmet and dark shirt with the word ‘Adventure’ on the front. It had been posted a day earlier just before 11 p.m., but had been removed by Craigslist when the woman returned to the site after copying the text - but not the photo - into a computer word processing program.

The ad was written by someone claiming to be the boy’s father. The author said the boy was a “great kid” but he could no longer afford to care for him. The boy loves basketball, football and soccer but doesn’t play with cars, refuses to eat vegetables and can scream for hours at a time.

“But he always has a smile on his face,” according to the ad. “It is going to kill me to do this but as I stated before I cannot afford to keep him. His Motherr (sp) is out of the picture and my parents no longer talk to me since I’ve had Gavin,” the ad read, according to the search warrant. “So I don’t know what else to do other than find a good family with kids or a couple that wants a son.”

The seller, who identified himself as Rick Obelophy, said he wouldn’t give the boy “to anyone.” “I want to meet with you and make sure you will be fit parents,” the ad read. Investigators can’t find any record for Rick Obelophy.

The ad requested interested buyers respond to an anonymous e-mail set up through Craigslist. A request for a search warrant filed Monday by detectives sought records for that e-mail address and any data associated with the ad from Craigslist headquarters in San Francisco.

Investigators aren’t ready to talk about more details, Reagan said.

Selling or buying minor children in Washington is a class C felony.

Craigslist sale leads to stolen police gear

A suspicious camera sale brokered through Craigslist has led the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to a cache of stolen police gear taken from one of its undercover vehicles more than five months ago.

The case began taking shape after a Sandpoint woman called detectives in late September after growing leery of an expensive camera being sold for well under its value by a young man she said knew little about its complicated features.

That man turned out to be Nick A. Peters, investigators say, who used to live near a detective whose unmarked police car was prowled in early May.

Read the rest of my story in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review. I’m out of the office until Monday.

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