Just because craigslist removed its personals section doesn’t mean it’s any safer. Last weekend, two men, 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland, went missing in Moore, Oklahoma, after witnesses saw them being taken into a van. Moreland’s family claimed that he was meeting someone to sell something through craigslist. Sadly, the bodies of Moreland and Smith were found weighted in a pond earlier this week. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in their murders, and they are 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 43-year-old Johnny Barker, and the 16-year-old brother of Garcia-Boettler.
According to police, Moreland and Smith were said to be selling a gun on craigslist and the trio of suspects were meeting with the two men to purchase the gun. Once Moreland and Smith approached the suspects’ van, one of the suspects claims they heard a gun being cocked by one of the victims. This resulted in one of the suspects firing on the two men, killing them both. Tragically, this could have all been prevented.
Craigslist’s terms of service forbids firearms from being sold or traded on their site, yet it happens all the time. The problem with craigslist is the usual one as they hardly ever do any kind of moderation on their site for any kind of illegal items or sales. Instead, they rely on their users to flag any kind of inappropriate ad, the same users who are posting the illegal ads to begin with. This is akin to the inmates running the asylum. Craigslist has the ability to screen for ads like this as they have done so in the past with unlocked iPhones when that was still illegal. Yet they allow guns to change hands without even batting an eye.
27-year-old Rony N. Herrera Deleon of Falls Church, Virginia is not only accused of meeting a 17-year-old girl from MySpace but also abducting her, raping her and stabbing her.
After picking up his victim Deleon allegedly said that he had to stop at his aunt’s house and the girl went inside with him where Deleon stabbed and raped her. He also allegedly violated her with a foreign object.
Luckily, if you can really say luckily in this instance, the victim survived and was able to identify Deleon.
Kids, I implore you to stop going on these MySpace hookups no matter how well you think you know the person from meeting them online. The odds are that you don’t know them at all.
Angry Jim over there is 26-year-old Gregory Rother of Fairfax, Virginia. He allegedly met a 23-year-old woman over craigslist and when he went to her house he brandished a pair of knives and ordered her to strip. After trashing the place he ordered her to get dressed and forced her into a car.
When they drove past a police officer the woman signaled the officer who pulled them over. The victim then ran to the police car.
No word on what section of craigslist they met over. I’m guessing casual encounters which could use some cleaning up as well.
And ladies, my advice to you is don’t hook up with people on craigslist.
This an article from PC Mag that says a study from the University of New Hampshire’s Internet Solution for Kids, Inc. claims that sexual predators aren’t as prevalent on MySpace and Facebook as the media says they are.
“Between June and October 2007, we conducted over 400 interviews with police about Internet-related sex crimes … and we have yet to find cases of sex offenders stalking and abducting minors on the basis of information posted on social networking sites,” report authors said.
I would have to say that stalking and abducting through the internet in general isn’t as prevalent as one might think but grooming on the other hand is probably the preferred tactic of sexual predators.
Grooming is a way for the sexual predators to gain the trust of their underage victims and to make them think that their sexual ‘relationship’ is normal.
I would prefer to see a study that gives the numbers on how many predators are grooming children over MySpace rather than abducting.
Still parents should keep a close eye on your children’s internet behavior. Predators are usually one step ahead of the police when it comes to technology.