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Police seeking Craigslist scammer suspect who robs thousands $$$ through fake home rental ad

by Ellen Killoran

A family of seven was robbed and left homeless

Police have named a suspect in Craigslist scam that has robbed a family would-be home owners of thousands of dollars and left them without a place to live — but they are still trying to find him.

According to 13ABC Action News, Toledo, Ohio, resident John Blue is has been identified as the mastermind behind a Craigslist bait-and-switch rental operation: Taking money from potential renters for homes he does not own or have the authority to rent. Several families are believed to have been victimized so far.

“One of our detectives filed a charge for grand theft on John Blue and that was for the scam that he pulled on Craigslist,” Lt. Joe Heffernan told the news station.

Violet Rudolph told 13ABC Action News that she and her husband, William Hagen, responded to what they thought was a legitimate rental advertisement on Craigslist last month. The suspect allegedly gave them a fake name and took them on a tour of the property. After signing a one-year lease and handing over a thousand-dollar deposit, the suspect gave them keys to a home they could not move into. Rudolph said she was also fired from her job because of scheduling issues after scrambling to find a place to stay and house the family’s belongings.

“It’s a nightmare. I wouldn’t wish this for nobody else,” Rudolph told the news station.

“We would like to sit down and talk with him and see how this all went down,” Heffernan said. “From our reports, it sounds like he was at this for a little while, so there may be additional victims out there.”

Anyone with information on Blue’s whereabouts is urged to call Crimestopper at (419)-255-1111

Photo: Screenshot/13ABC Action News

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."