Family Loses Everything After Craigslist Post Gone Terribly, Horribly Wrong

OMG 76

Family cleaned out after Craigslist ad

Be careful what you post on Craigslist. And be sure you're very, very explicit about exactly what it is you're offering, or you could wind up like one poor Georgia family.

Facing foreclosure on their home of 20 years, Pam Hobbs and her son lost even more when a yard sale posting on Craigslist gave people the impression that it wasn't just the furniture in the driveway they were giving away for free. Folks were welcome to come into their home and take anything -- and everything -- they could get their hands on. Total. Chaos. 

More from The Stir: Mom Takes Craigslist Ad for 'Baby Daddy,' Depresses Us All

How did people get the impression that all the family's belongings were up for grabs? Here's the ad: 

"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."

Oh man. D'oh. 

What did they take? Literally everything. Instead of coming by after 10 a.m. last Wednesday, as the post advised, people broke into the house before the family got home and looted the place. They took heirloom guitars, housewares, electronics, and nearly every scrap of clothing. The only things left were some books scattered on the floor.

Posting free things on Craigslist apparently turns people into scavengers, and Hobbs said she even found herself arguing with greedy folks about her own prized possessions. A woman had loaded her grandmother's sewing machine in the back of her truck and refused to give it back. 

The family was able to recover a few of their belongings, and the community rallied to give them a $400 gift card to replace some of what was taken, but that doesn't seem like enough to replace a whole house-full of clothes, shoes, food, and furniture, does it?

It's a sad story, and a cautionary tale for anyone posting on Craigslist. This definitely makes me think twice about what I say on the popular classified ad website -- and how I say it -- so that selling that old coffee maker doesn't wind up costing me my kitchen. 

Would you be afraid to let strangers into your house if you posted on Craigslist?


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nonmember avatar nicky

While I do feel bad for them, that was just idiotic.

dirti... dirtiekittie

this is way too fishy to me, sorry. i read about this a few days ago, and what strikes me is that if you SEE the woman load the sewing machine up and you tell her it is NOT free and she still takes it, she is stealing. why not call the cops? and to those who say the looting happened while they weren't home - the original story i read says that they 'tried to stop people' at the house from overrunning it, but "our pleas went unheard"... why are you pleading? call the cops!! i hate to say it, and i don't want to think the worst of people... but if this wasn't for donations/publicity, then these folks are unfortunately very, very stupid.

Dawn Richards Chappell

First of all, how do you not know that people show up early for garage sales? Second, maybe someone in the family should have said, you know, we are really broke. Let's SELL stuff instead of giving it away.

I feel bad for the family, but it's hard to blame the vultures in this particular situation.

the4m... the4mutts

Yeah... I'm with dirtiekittie on this one. And btw, what kind of dumbass gives out their address on the internet, when they know they won't be home? Smells fishy for sure.

Dawn Richards Chappell

Dirtiekitty, if you read the original article, it says they DID call the police. The family was at work and got home at 10 for a 10:00 giveaway. Of course, people got there early and raided the empty house, so by 10, most of the damage had been done and the people had already taken stuff and left. The police got the sewing machine back but everything else was long gone.

Dawn Richards Chappell

I doubt they did it on purpose. They didn't have insurance so what's the point of losing everything you own?

dirti... dirtiekittie

@Dawn Richards - i'm referring to the original article i read a few days ago on yahoo, which stated they didn't call the cops until long after people had cleared out their stuff. and my original point still stands - why do you not show up until 10am if it starts at 10am? the whole situation is just terrible, but could have easily been prevented.

nonmember avatar sorryhearit

Have an avid mother-in-law that yard sells. It's like a competition who gets there first. There ad made it sound even more competitive, like a horror show. They were obviously very young and naive couple that didn't know what to do and the crowd refused to believe they were the owners. The police would have been the best solution, to little to late. Someone should build a web site to donate money to show them the better side of humanity. Their honesty about their mistake reinforces how naive they were.Love to send them a few dollars, don't see a way, need names,

Dawn Richards Chappell

Dirtiekitty, i totally agree that showing up at 10 was stupid.. Sounds like they are completely clueless on so many levels. My point was just that they did call the police when they got home and realized what was happening, but it was way too late for the cops to do much after the house was already cleared out.

IHear... IHeartCake

I feel sorry for them.  Never post your address online.  If you're going to do a yard sale, do it elsewhere or just post signs the day of in the neighborhood.  Whoever broke into this house to steal things should be so ashamed of their greed. 

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