5 Stories That Prove Craigslist Is the Scariest Website Ever
Everyone knows Craigslist is the premiere destination for lunatics hoping to lure a person to their residence or rape dungeon by way of a false advertisement with no intentions other than killing them in the most Investigation Discovery-worthy manner possible. "Craigslist killers" aren't the only danger lurking on America's favorite online garage sale, though. All sorts of things can go haywire when you're dealing with a site where the end result, more often than not, is going to be some variation of one stranger showing up at another stranger's house.
We talk about some of the lesser-known Craigslist crime epidemics on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comic Sophia Benoit and Cracked editor Tom Reimann. As it turns out, that's also what I'm talking about in this column today. Here are a few stories that prove Craigslist is the scariest site on the Internet.
Day Laborers Tricked Into Assisting With Armored Car Robbery
Anthony Curcio is living proof that not every Craigslist crime has to be the kind of thing you'd shield your eyes from while watching a movie. He was a former high school football star who played a little in college, but not little enough to avoid an injury that saddled him with a lifelong painkiller addiction. Things spiraled out of control to the point that Curcio turned to crime for money, and that's when shit got interesting.
Rather than pull the usual junkie maneuver and rob a liquor store on a whim, he settled into eight months of Hollywood-action-movie-worthy planning and came up with a scheme to rob an armored truck.
So not even a starter gas station or anything?
One of the key components of his heist involved posting an ad on Craigslist for 10 day laborers, with the odd request that they all show up dressed the exact same way. Why? Because on that day, Curcio showed up dressed in a similar getup, except his was a tear-away Velcro version like those warm-up pants basketball players wear when they're on the bench.
As his color-coordinated workforce stood around confused and waiting to labor, the man who requested their presence blasted an armored truck driver in the face with pepper spray, grabbed two bags of cash, and ran off into the sunset, leaving nothing but confusion and a bunch of dudes who matched the description of the perpetrator in his wake.
Well, that's not completely true. Curcio also left behind the particle mask he used to shield himself from the pepper spray, and that, along with the fact that the most honest homeless dude ever spotted him stashing his robbery gear during a test run and gave the police his license plate, eventually led to his capture.
Not before he got away in the most insanely adorable way imaginable, though. After fleeing the scene and disposing of his disguise, Curcio jumped onto a waiting inner-tube and floated off to freedom.
Who's man's best friend now, good puppy?!?!?
He stashed a little over half of the four-hundred-goddamn-thousand dollars he made off with in a friend's safe, then immediately made his way to Vegas with the rest. In my dream version of events, all of that happened on an inner-tube also.
As mentioned earlier, he did get caught eventually, but he managed to live it up in Vegas for a bit and, to be completely honest, getting away on an inner-tube for a little while is still better than getting away in a more traditional way forever, if for no other reason than having that story to tell for the rest of your life.
Oh, hey, on that note, Curcio is now out of prison and working as a motivational speaker, presumably giving desperate junkies the courage they need to finally take the plunge and start stealing shit.
MLB Legend Lenny Dykstra Expects Some Rubs
Since we're on the subject of former athletes who've fallen on hard times, let's talk about Lenny Dykstra. A lot of you might remember him as the spunky center fielder who helped the Philadelphia Phillies reach the World Series for the first time in ages back in 1993.
Those were the good times. You're probably also familiar with the bad times, which involve Dykstra serving a lengthy prison sentence for grand theft auto. But did you know he was also the creepiest professional athlete on Craigslist for a while as well?
It's true! In six separate incidents reported between 2009 and 2011, Dykstra hired women under the pretense of looking for help with various household chores, not letting on until well after they'd arrived that one of those chores would be giving him a goddamn massage. In one instance, he even held a woman at knifepoint and demanded a rub down.
"Hey, in the suit, massage my back or I'll stab you."
I have so many questions about that last story, and I'm not going to ask a single one of them here. In case you're wondering, though, of course Dykstra was punished for his acts. He served 90 days in jail and was ordered to stop soliciting women for sex on Craigslist forever. Harsh! Oh, and the charge ran concurrent with his grand theft auto charge, so he really didn't do any extra jail time at all.
So, let that be a lesson, kids. If you're thinking of committing a crime on Craigslist, do so knowing there's a great chance you'll get away with it at least a little bit.
Minister Steals Gifts From Couple She Was Hired to (and Did) Marry
Craigslist gives not a single fuck about the sanctity of your marriages. For proof of that, look no further than the story of Shey-Rima Silveira. She was hired on Craigslist to marry a Portland couple, Kitty and Shawn Sonnenschein, in their backyard. Because they were renovating their kitchen at the time, they asked all of the invited guests to bring Home Depot gift cards in lieu of any other form of wedding present.
You certainly don't want to use a debit card there.
At the end of the ceremony, the Sonnenscheins were dismayed to find that, despite inviting 75 to 100 people, their total haul was a measly three gift cards.
Did the Sonnenscheins just have the cheapest bunch of friends of all time, or was foul play involved? That question got a whole lot easier to answer when Silveira, the woman who'd just been paid to marry the couple, was spotted on surveillance footage using one of the stolen cards and arrested shortly thereafter.
To make amends, she was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and a $300 fine. As this article about the crime points out, she was allowed to enter her guilty plea by mail, from the comfort of her new home in Washington ...
She plead "happened out of state so it doesn't count."
... further proving that Craigslist is a great place for not-so-clever criminals to pull off inept crimes and face little to no consequences for their actions. If anything, what she did could best be described as a high-interest loan.
Also, don't rule out the possibility that the Sonnenscheins really did have cheap friends. In that case, even if every single one of them brought a gift card, there's an excellent chance the final take wasn't going to amount to $1,500. Maybe they came out ahead on the deal and, hooray, everybody wins! I mean, except for the 75 to 100 people who had to go to a backyard wedding in Portland, obviously.
Man Kills Prostitute, Is Acquitted Because He Was "Recovering Stolen Property"
When you hire a woman on Craigslist to the tune of $150 per hour, do you expect to get sex in return? Internet super-creep Ezekiel Gilbert certainly did when 23-year-old Lenora Ivie Frago arrived at his door. When he found out sex wasn't part of the deal, he became enraged and demanded his money back. Frago refused to issue a refund and ran to a waiting vehicle.
Her driver, Christopher Perkins, confronted the angry sex hound when he stormed out. Frago jumped in the car and, when Perkins tried to speed away, Gilbert fired four shots into the car. Sadly, the young woman was killed in the attack.
Perkins lived, though, and with an eyewitness to the crime ready and able to talk, getting Gilbert shipped off to prison would be no problem at all. Except for one thing ...
... the crime happened in Texas. The funny thing about that batshit insane state is that if you see a crime about to happen and it involves your property, you're pretty much in the clear to kill a person to prevent that crime from happening. If you think that's an exaggeration, this case should be all the proof to the contrary you could ever need, because Gilbert was acquitted on the grounds that he was simply defending his property from being stolen.
The law that allowed this to happen gives gun-happy Texans the legal right to protect themselves with deadly force to prevent a whole array of crimes, including arson, burglary, and any crime, however minor, that falls under the insanely huge umbrella of "criminal mischief during the nighttime."
I searched the phrase "night mischief," and this popped up, and you're as crazy as Texas if you think I'm not using it.
As this Vanity Fair article points out, that can include something as minor as graffiti, a crime that's generally a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine. That's provided no one catches you in the act, of course. In that case, you're probably about to die.
And Craigslist can help make it happen! Don't worry, though, the perpetrators do get caught and punished for their crimes sometimes. It's just that those are usually the saddest stories of all. Case in point ...
Husband Tries to Get Wife Raped, Wife Wins With Guns
So here's the most terrifying shit ever. A 32-year-old Twin Falls, Idaho, man hatched a scheme to have strangers show up at his home and help his wife live out her bizarre rape fantasies. You normally wouldn't bat an eyelash at a story like that coming from Craigslist, except for the part where, in this case, the wife actually had no clue any of this was happening.
Her husband, potentially the worst person of all time, exchanged emails with men while posing as her and, you know, made rape arrangements. The instructions made it clear that the sexual-assaultist-for-hire should not stop, no matter how much resistance he faced. There was a hitch in the plan, though, in that his wife will shoot a motherfucker.
Does a creep asking for you by name at the door before saying, "I'm here for you," necessitate gun violence? You bet! Especially when it's followed by that same maniac forcing his way in and chasing you through the house. That happened, but she reached that aforementioned gun. It went off as her attacker was trying to take it from her, at which point he fled, never to be captured.
This picture just feels like it belongs here.
This is where you'd expect the plan would come to a screeching halt, but that's because you're not a fucking menace to common decency like so many depraved animals on Craigslist. Instead of putting a stop to things, the husband sent someone else to try it again two days later.
That creepshow was Michael "No Relation to P. Diddy" Combs, and boy was he surprised when what he thought was his willing co-conspirator pulled out a gun. Practice makes a lot of things perfect, including the ability to get to your weapon fast enough to subdue the criminal trying to have his way with you.
Unfortunately, she didn't shoot him right in the goddamn face, but she did call the police, who were presumably like, "Holy shit, again?" before arriving moments later. This time, they searched the husband's phone and found all sorts of the kind of digital evidence that dipshits in murder shows who don't understand the Internet never realize even exists.
The cellphone tower is the most accomplished crime-fighter of the 21st century.
So, in the long run, the scheme failed and (most of) the responsible parties were apprehended. That's great! What's less great is that this kind of thing happens all the damn time, and you won't be at all shocked to learn that it rarely ends with the victim standing over her attacker with a gun.
Why does it happen so much? I'd love to chalk it up to the standard "dudes are the worst," which really does work for so many things, but there's a crazy woman in San Diego who can challenge that argument in this case. She posted "Rape Wanted" ads on Craigslist targeting a young woman after she was outbid on a house she wanted to buy.
So, it's more like "sometimes people are the worst," unfortunately, and when you combine that with the fact that Craigslist gives you the ability to place an order for the most depraved things society has to offer and have them delivered directly to any door in the world, including your own, it amounts to a quick and easy recipe for disaster.
Adam is on Twitter, and it's totally safe to follow him there @adamtodbrown.
For more from Adam, check out 5 Stories That Prove Police Are Just as Terrifying in Canada and 6 of the Happiest Songs Ever (Are About Death).
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