'Free Groceries' Ad Scams Several Oklahoma Families
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - People thought they were part of a “pay it forward” campaign when they saw a Craigslist ad offering free groceries in Broken Arrow, but when they went to cash in, it wasn’t what they hoped.
When several struggling families saw the ad they jumped on what they thought was a generous gift. It was the buzzword no one could deny, free. In this case it was groceries.
Tonya Stevens had just run out of food stamps when she came across the ad featuring a table full of groceries, offering free milk, vegetables, pasta, bread and meat for 30 families.
"I was excited and happy. ‘Wow, somebody's gonna pay it forward,’" thought Stevens after she saw the ad. "Meat is really high and expensive and a lot of people that are on food stamps can't afford to go out and buy a whole bunch of meat."
Sunday, around noon just as the Craigslist ad instructed, Stevens and nearly 30 other families showed up to the address listed. One woman drove at least 30 minutes from Claremore for the free food. But when the families arrived, their excitement would turn to confusion.
"I couldn't understand why everyone was gathering at my house," said the owner of the home listed in the address.
The woman living at the address near 81st Street and Oneta Road, said she had no idea someone listed her house in the ad. She asked not to be identified to minimize the harm she said someone has already caused with what she called a sick joke.
"I'm crying for these people because they were coming here, using what little money they had in gas to get here, hoping to get some meals for the day," the woman said.
Since then, one question has been on the mind of the woman, why?
"I can't wrap my thoughts around why this would happen or why someone would do something like this," she said.
Stevens said, “The person that posted this, get a life. Get off of Craigslist."
Craigslist has taken down the ad and Broken Arrow police are keeping a watch on the home in case it's a personal attack.
Stevens is calling churches and local businesses, hoping to get groceries donated to hand out to each of the families who responded to the ad.