• Wife cops to Craigslist scam; husband cleared of charges

    Amber Herbert, 28, admits she posted a fake ad online to cover up her theft of three saddles from a neighbor's garage
  • Charges against a Medford man accused of burglary stemming from a Craigslist hoax have been dropped after his wife admitted to the crimes.
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  • Charges against a Medford man accused of burglary stemming from a Craigslist hoax have been dropped after his wife admitted to the crimes.
    Brandon D. Herbert, 29, and his wife, Amber D. Herbert, 28, both faced burglary, theft and computer crime charges after a Craigslist ad was posted in March encouraging people to pick up "free" items at a rural Jacksonville residence. The ad was a ruse to cover up a theft of three saddles there, prosecutors said.
    The hoax drew international attention and cost the victim several thousand dollars as people drove away with his goods, insisting that the Craigslist ad gave them the right.
    Amber Herbert admitted in a plea agreement in June that she had placed phony postings on Craigslist to cover up stealing the saddles. She told prosecutors her husband had no knowledge of the crimes.
    She pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to a single charge each of second-degree burglary and committing a computer crime, said Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.
    She was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months' supervised probation for each offense. The sentences are to be served concurrently. She was also fined $1,246, Heckert said.
    Her husband was slated for trial Tuesday on similar charges. But prosecutors on Monday received a statement from Amber Herbert saying she takes full responsibility for the crimes, said Heckert.
    "She said, 'I did it all and he had no knowledge,' so I had to dismiss the charges," Heckert said.
    The Herberts owned the computer used to post two Craigslist messages March 22 that invited readers to help themselves to what were purported to be abandoned belongings, including a horse, Heckert said. But it was just a ruse to cover Amber Herbert's thefts of saddles and other items from a garage on the Sterling Creek Road property a few days earlier, Heckert said.
    Herbert said her husband was in another area of the property when she put the saddles into their car, Heckert said.
    Detectives used computer records to trace the postings to the Herberts' computer. Several deleted files and other evidence linking the computer to the Craigslist posts were discovered, yet both suspects denied any involvement with the posts, police said.
    Amber Herbert has since returned at least two of the saddles after initially stating she'd sold them over the Internet, Heckert said.
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.
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