GRAND RAPIDS (MI) — Make sure you’re aware of who your landlord is if you want to move. A craigslist michigan scam has resurfaced and taken out the savings of one Grand Rapids woman, who is now homeless. Scammers copy real rental listings and pose as their owners, then take off with victims’ money. This leaves families without a place they can call home.
“Why would they do that to someone who is in desperate need of a place to sleep?” Why?” asked Teresa Johnson.
Johnson, her 4-year old daughter, and their dog now live in a motel. Saturday was supposed to mark the day that they moved into a three bedroom house in quiet Alger Heights.
According to the listing on Craigslist Michigan, the owner was going on a mission trip to Haiti and needed someone to rent the house while they were gone.
Johnson said Johnson, “He was a man who was clothed so I think he’s good.”
After exchanging emails, Teresa was informed that she could move in. She had to send $16,000 as a security deposit.
Johnson stated, “I only had $800 and could give him $800.” Johnson stated, “That was all I had saved.”
The money was sent to Arizona via Western Union. She went to the house to inspect it in person and noticed lights and a man inside. It was the true owner.
The real owner said, “I couldn’t believe someone could do that,” but declined to identify himself.
He stated that the house was listed for rent, but not on Craigslist, and that he would not ask for upfront money. “They copied and pasted the advertisement, basically.”
“You think you’re smart enough to know that wolves are sheep-clothed and you can be safe. But I was like gung-ho. Like wow, today is the day God answered my call. Johnson said, “I got this blessing.”
To warn others about the scam, the real owner posted a message on Craigslist michigan. Johnson is still searching for a place to live, but she will have to save again before she can move.
The Craigslist Michigan Killer
Brooke Ann Slocum, soon-to be parents, turned to Craigslist hoping that someone would respond to their ad. But what they got was much more than they expected.
Slocum uploaded to the online classified website on July 2, 2014
“I need $50 today by 330pm. I will pay you back tonight, but I need gas fast and some cleanup! Everybody has bronchitis in my house, and I don’t want to get sick. My lungs are already squished at 8 months. I would be grateful if you could spare some time to help me and my baby!
According to documents obtained from a Detroit-area CBS affiliate. The couple would receive a reply to their ad ten days later.
Brady Oestrike, who went by the name “Mike’s Hard”, reached out to the couple with the suggestion of exchanging cash in exchange for sex. After Oppenneer assured Oestrike that there would not be any “male-on-male” action, Oestrike agreed and gave the couple $120. They agreed to meet in a park at midnight on the same night.
Police found an abandoned Saab belonging to Charles Oppenneer the next day. The evidence at the scene proved that Oppenneer was murdered. They would find Oppenneer’s corpse in a pile of sticks four days later. Investigators discovered that Oppener’s body was missing from Brooke Slocum’s home.
Oestrike, unlike Oppenneer chose to not kill Brook. Slocum was tortured and kept in a dog cage for five days. Oestrike captured most of the footage from the CCTV system that he installed. The video ends just before noon on July 17, 2014. Slocum was still alive at the time.
Investigators were able to get the testimony of a roommate that they knew that the couple had placed ads on craigslist michigan. Police were able track the messages back through Brady Oestrike using the couple’s computer.
Oestrike fled from the home after police prepared to raid Oestrike’s house. Oestrike led police on a short chase that ended at Burton Street’s on-ramp. Oestrike crashed the car and then was shot and killed by himself. Brooke Slocum’s body was found in the trunk of Oestrike’s car. Investigators suspect that Oestrike strangled Brooke Slocum earlier in the day.
Oestrike’s house was photographed by media sources, showing a man’s gradual descent into paranoia. The home was littered with various weapons, sex toys and medieval collectibles, as well as some of Oestrike’s writings.
Oestrike’s family said they didn’t see any warning signs. However, Oestrike had a string of bad relationships which may have been part of the motive for the murders.
Livonia resident scammed by craigslist michigan for $4,000
Brookfield resident came to the station to report the fraud on May 23. The man claimed that he searched Craigslist for a vehicle that he was interested to purchase. According to the man, he had arranged a deal on May 17 with the seller. He stated that the vehicle was located in Montana. The deal included a $2,500 purchase of the car, and $1,500 to cover insurance and transport the vehicle to Michigan.
The seller sent the resident a link to an Amazon page and instructed him to use Amazon gift cards to pay for the vehicle. The resident went to Westland’s CVS and Kroger, as well Livonia’s Rite Aid pharmacy, and bought the gift cards. The resident then returned to the site that was sent and gave the numbers to the seller.
The seller pulled the ad several days later and ended the sale of his vehicle. To get his money back the Livonia resident contacted Amazon, but Amazon had no record of the transaction. He realized that the seller had used a fake website to get the gift cards. He contacted Amazon and was instructed to file a report.
Craigslist michigan suggests that users only deal in person transactions to avoid fraud. It also suggests that users not wire money to others via services like Western Union. It is also recommended to avoid deals where the seller promises to ship the product after partial payment has been made.