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Fake Ad For Free Snowblower Leads To Stolen One

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Snowblower (credit: CBS)

Snowblower (credit: CBS)

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By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — If you’re a Craigslist user, you may have looked through the items offered in the free column. But what if an item listed as “free” hadn’t been listed by the owner and really wasn’t for giveaway?

That’s what happened to a St. Cloud family who had a snowblower taken because someone put it in the free listings on Craigslist.

Last weekend the Lansing family was blowing out their driveway when their snowblower stopped working.

“It’s a large machine and we could not move it up the driveway,” said Stacie Lansing.

So the Lansings left the 10-year-old Toro in the driveway and arranged for it to be picked up and repaired.

On Wednesday night, the Lansings came home just after 6 p.m. and the snowblower was still in the driveway. About a half-hour later the phone started ringing

“I got a phone call from a neighborhood friend saying ‘Do you have a snowblower that’s free on Craigslist?’ and I said ‘No,'” recalled Stacie.

The Lansings raced outside.

“It was gone already,” said Stacie.

Callers looking for the free snowblower told the Lansings they had seen the ad on Craigslist

“Obviously the person who posted the listing did it maliciously,” Stacie said.

St. Cloud Police are working with Craigslist to try and trace the ad.

“I’m hoping that somebody, because it’s the holiday season, will have good faith and return it,” said Stacie.

Someone answered the Lansings holiday wish late Thursday afternoon. After hearing news reports about the missing snowblower two young men returned it, saying they had no idea the ad was a scam.

“They dropped it off. Wonderful, wonderful people. They said that they certainly could never take something that wasn’t theirs,” said Stacie.

She said she has no idea who would have posted the ad.

St. Cloud Police say if they catch the person who posted it, they could be charged with misdemeanor theft by swindle.

WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy Reports

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