The Craigslist ad said, "Please help yourself to anything on the property." And some people did, leaving the Tacoma, Wash., house cited in the ad looking extremely well plundered.
On Friday we learned that all the information Craigslist had on the ad found its way to the police. And we now know the ad didn't last very long on Craigslist, maybe two hours. It was removed because so many users flagged it. But that was long enough. Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said the Internet and e-mail addresses linked to the person who posted the ad were turned over to the home owner, and she in turn relayed the information to Tacoma police.
She does have a mess on her hands. People showed up and took the kitchen sink, front door, water heater and even a vinyl window. Rubble litters the garage and yard.
What's the back story? The owner says she evicted tenants--the owner's two sisters, it turns out--last month. Neighbors say the house was long the scene of wild parties, noise and fights.
Now what? The owner doesn't recognize the e-mail address used to post the phony ad. It's not clear the people who took things from the house can be charged.
What about the person(s) who posted the ad? Police say they are in relatively new legal territory and are not sure what to do even if they find the perps. We do know it was an off-duty cop who noticed the ad on Craigslist and then made the connection when a burglary was reported at the same address. Clearly there may be other connections still to come.
In the Hollywood version of this comedy, we're not sure who will play the landlady, but Steve Martin will play the off-duty cop.