Posting An Item On Craigslist As “Free” Before You Steal It Doesn’t Mean It’s Actually Free

When I was two years old and sitting in my stroller while my mom checked out at the grocery store, I did not tell her, “Hey, Mom? I’m about to grab this candy bar and shove it in my mouth,” because that is an easy way to get caught. Police in New Hampshire say three thieving suspects weren’t so smooth, and instead would post items as up for grabs on Craigslist that they intended to steal, and then went out and stole them.

It seems like putting a lot of heat on yourself during the time when most criminals wouldn’t want to get caught, and indeed, three men were jailed yesterday for swiping items from a home in order to sell them.

Here’s how the grand scheme worked, according to WMUR News: Place an item on Craigslist as “free” and located at the property, then go out and steal it from that same property.

“Two separate items listed on Craigslist, they advertised free items here at a location in Moultonborough. The suspects were subsequently arrested at that address after those ads were posted trying to remove those items from the property,” a police detective said.

There’s another weird twist — cops think the suspects were using the “free” items as an alibi. If they showed up and got caught they could just say, “Oh we’re here to take the free stuff we saw on the Internets.”

And then there are those pesky people who would see the “free” ad and show up at the property when the suspects were trying to take it. Very complicated.

The owner of the home didn’t want to give anything away for free, including a tractor and and a truck body that both showed up at a scrap yard after the Craigslist scheme was pulled off. Cops set up surveillance at the home and caught the threesome the next time they tried to haul away “free” items.

3 arrested after stolen items found on Craigslist [WMUR News]