Owner Beware
February 19, 2013

Owner Beware

Recently, CNN reported about a less than loving incident in New Jersey. According to the online video, a New Jersey man, Jan, went on Craigslist to look for a new boat only to find his own boat for sale. The catch? He was not the one selling his boat. Some person who called himself “Chad” was the listed seller.

Jan had an older boat that he had permission to keep in an alleyway of sorts. Obviously, during winter he did not check on it daily, but clearly someone else did. And that “Chad” decided it was time to try to make a few bucks off of someone else’s property.

The police were already looking into “Chad” and arranging to apprehend him, but Jan met with “Chad” instead. Jan called this “Chad” and arranged to check the boat out. They met where Jan’s boat was kept and “Chad” told Jan the boat would cost $1,000 (USD). Jan called the cops who arrested Gregory Bartucci, otherwise known as Chad.

According to the police, this kind of sale is not unique. It happens often. The New Jersey police said that the internet allows for all sorts of criminal behavior especially in this realm.

They suggested that if you are going to purchase something via Craigslist or other such online sales, auction, or garage sale sites, then you should do your research. Make sure that the seller has some sort of legal document for items such as boats, cars, houses, and the like. Major purchases like these tend to be the focus of illegitimate sales.

What a surprise this experience would be. To go onto Craigslist in hopes of finding a new boat only to see that someone else is selling your old boat, which you still own and are not currently selling, would just be, well, weird. Technology has connected people so that we can more easily buy and sell goods. This I like. However, the fact that some people misuse this technology to steal, lie, and mislead just makes me sad.

As Jan said in the CNN video, to try to sell his boat for $1,000 (USD) is crazy and stupid. Sure, the illegitimate seller might make a $1,000 (USD), but he also risked getting caught and getting fined or going to jail, which is likely to happen in this case, for a mere $1,000. I have to agree with Jan; that’s just stupid.

Crime in any form is just not worth it. To use technology because the criminal thinks he is less likely to be caught is just crazy. It might be easy to do, but eventually someone will likely catch onto the crimes. Just like what happened here. And easy does not mean right.

I just will not ever understand crime and fraud. I mean, what possessed Bartucci to try and sell something that did not belong to him? Why would he risk the possible consequences? I just can’t understand the dishonesty and rationalizing that must take place to complete something like this.

What’s worse is that the next time I purchase an item from e-Bay, Amazon, Craigslist, or otherwise, I will remember Jan’s experience. I really like the idea of reusing items by selling them to others who want or need them. I like everything about it. Now, though, I will have to consider the veracity of the seller, especially when using Craigslist.

Image Credit: Tatiana Popova / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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