Published Date Written by David CarkhuffOn Wednesday, the South Portland Police Department received two separate reports from victims indicating that they had responded to an ad placed on Craigslist, listing an apartment for rent in South Portland, and believed that they had been duped, Lt. Frank Clark reported.
Both victims reported that they had met with someone who had represented themselves as the person responsible for renting the property, a multi-unit apartment building on Grandview Avenue that is actually owned by the South Portland Housing Authority. Both victims also reported having given cash to the person, as a deposit on the apartment rental, Clark reported.
As part of the follow-up investigation, contact was made with the suspect, who agreed to meet one of the victims at a hotel on Riverside Street in Portland. Instead, officers from South Portland and Portland were there and placed Lisa Hinerman, 26, a Portland area transient, under arrest. Hinerman was charged with two felony (Class C) counts of Theft by Deception, as well as with an outstanding warrant for her arrest involving Probation Revocation related to other prior theft charges, Clark reported.
Hinerman has a lengthy criminal history, including several prior theft-related convictions, Clark said. The case will be referred to the District Attorney's Office for review and prosecution. Additional charges are likely.
The ad in this case has since been removed, police reported. "This is a good reminder of the potential illegitimate uses and pitfalls of sites such as Craigslist," Clark reported in a press release. "As beneficial as these sites can be, unfortunately, there are always some people who will use any means (including the Internet) to prey on others. There is still a lot of validity to the statement, 'If it seems to good to be true. ...' The total known loss, at this time, is upwards of $1,800. It is also believed that other potential victims may have visited the property."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police department at 799.5511 ext. 7254.