Dumb Thieves Nailed By Selling Contraband on Craig’s List
Kennewick and Pasco police have broken open a potentially huge burglary, fraud and identity theft ring, just by watching Craigslist.
It all began when an expensive guitar was reported stolen recently from the United Pentecostal Church at 201 South Auburn St. Kennewick police began monitoring Craigslist to see if it would show for sale online. It did, and authorities were able to set up a sting operation.
James M. and George M. Hartjen, ages 38 and 37 respectively, were arrested after police were led to their home by the information from the online selling operation. Police found the stolen guitar, but also MUCH MORE.
The Hartjens are now tied, by evidence, to a series of thefts in Pasco as well. Police discovered the two were stealing computers, refurbishing them and adding spyware programs, then selling them online.
When the unsuspecting victim began to use the computer, the spyware program would transmit their personal information back to the Hartjen's so they could steal and use that persons identity for fraud.
Police urge anyone who's recently purchased a used computer online to contact them and see if they've been a victim of this or similar crime. The investigation is ongoing, and now Pasco detectives have joined in. The evidence seized from the Hartjen's ties them to a number of other crimes in the region.