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Police find computer possibly used in Craigslist hoax

JACKSONVILLE — Police are examining a computer that may have been used to post a hoax on Craigslist last week that cost a Jacksonville man thousands of dollars' worth of property.

Jackson County sheriff's detectives contacted the computer's owner earlier this week. The person voluntarily handed over the computer to be examined by Jackson County sheriff's Detective Lt. Rich Fogarty.

"We have not named a suspect in this case," Fogarty said. "It is still too early in the investigation."

Fogarty said it could take more than a day to sift through the computer's hard drive for useful information.

In addition, the sheriff's office subpoenaed Craigslist to obtain the IP address of the user who posted the fake ads Saturday. Sheriff's officials are waiting for that information to arrive. Meanwhile, they are pursuing other leads.

The case began Saturday when two Craigslist ads appeared saying the owner of a home on Sterling Creek Road in Jacksonville had moved away and was leaving behind his belongings.

The ad asserted the items in the house and barn were free for the taking.

Homeowner Robert Salisbury got word of what was taking place and returned to his house to find more than 20 people loading up thousands of dollars' worth of his property, including ladders, saddles and his lawn mower.

Sheriff's officials issued a statement saying that anyone who made off with Salisbury's property could return it with no questions asked. He has since regained some of what was taken.

Possible charges connected to the case include theft, burglary, computer crime, theft by receiving and conspiracy to commit theft and burglary.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.