False Craigslist Post May End in Identity Theft Charge

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A Berkeley resident could be charged with identity theft after he posted sexual solicitation advertisements on Craigslist.org under his ex-girlfriend's name.

The series of at least five posts said the woman and her daughter liked to have sex together and invited people to come to their home. The posts contained photographs of the two women as well as their names, phone number and address, police said.

"Some people think this is all a joke ... but somebody might have just showed up at night knocking on the door," said Alameda police detective Greg Ella. "That creates a very dangerous situation for the victim."

After the posts went online on Jan. 13, the 44-year old woman and her 19-year old daughter began receiving responses.

"Obviously the phone began ringing off the wall," Ella said. "The mother found out quickly through the callers that they were calling in response to the ads."

The woman contacted the site, and the posts were immediately removed.

"Thankfully nobody showed up at the house," Ella said.

The suspect, a 43-year-old Berkeley man, had not been in contact with the victims since the break-up five years ago, police said.

Detectives traced the posts back to the suspect through the IP addresses associated with them. Police were then able to find the suspect's house, where the posts were made.

Police say they want prosecutors to charge the man with identity theft, which is a felony. But the district attorney is still deciding how to prosecute the man.

"Technology has outpaced the law and police training in a lot of areas," Ella said. "People think it's a joke, but if you pose as a person that can end up being a felony."


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