Usually, it’s the thieves and scam artists that use craigslist.org to find their victims or sell faulty goods. But in the case of Twig Wheeler, he used the classifieds website to catch and arrest a thief.
The story began when Twig Wheeler ordered a rare, custom made stove that cost around $1,300 to be shipped to his house. Wheeler signed a slip saying that the delivery company could leave the stove on the front porch since he wouldn’t be around at the time of delivery. Unfortunately for Wheeler, when the stove was left at his doorstep, a opportunistic thief stepped in and snagged it. Also since he signed the slip saying it should be left outside, the insurance wouldn’t cover the theft.
This is where Twig decided that it was up to him to find the thief and get his stove back, otherwise he would be out $1,300 with no one but himself to blame. He went onto craigslist.org to look for anyone selling the stove in his town. A bit later, an ad popped up:
“It said, ‘Brand-new Little Cod wood stove. I’ve never had a chance to install it.’ And then it had a very long detailed description of the stove that was obviously taken from the Web site,” recalled Wheeler.
This model of the stove is very rare, with less than 300 having ever been made and much less being customized, so Wheeler knew that the ad was describing his own stove. He then called the police who acted as buyers and set up a meeting with the thief to “buy” the stove. When the 23-year-old man showed up with the stove, he was arrested and charged with possessing and trafficking stolen property.
So the next time something gets stolen from you or goes missing, make sure that you look up your local classified sections and websites and you just might find someone selling something “just like it.”