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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Home emptied after hoax online ad
Laurie Raye's house emptied of its contents
The online ad told people everything in the house was free
A house near Seattle in the US was emptied of its contents after a hoax advertisement invited people to take whatever they wanted for free.

Landlady Laurie Raye's rental home was stripped of appliances, windows, light fixtures and even the kitchen sink.

The advertisement stayed on the Craigslist website for two hours before being pulled.

Neighbours said they had seen people removing items in the middle of the day but did not suspect anything was wrong.

"In the ad, it said come and take what you want. Everything is free," Ms Raye told Seattle's King-TV.

Family feud?

An off-duty police officer in the city of Tacoma, outside Seattle, where the house is located, happened to see the advertisement.

When he later saw Ms Raye's burglary report, he realised the two events were connected.

Ms Raye had recently evicted a tenant from the house, when the ad appeared.

The fact that the evicted tenant is Ms Raye's sister has led to speculation that a family feud may be behind the case.

But Tacoma police say they are treating the case as a civil matter, not a criminal one.

Craigslist chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, said his website receives 25 million postings every month, but scams are rare.

"It's as difficult to prevent crime online as it is offline," he told Associated Press news agency.

The stripped home after the ad appeared on Craigslist

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