A Georgia family facing foreclosure had its home ransacked by crowds that went way beyond items available at a "free yard sale" advertised on Craigslist.
Pamela Hobbs, 59, has lived in the same home in Woodstock, Ga., for the past 20 years, but she found out at the beginning of October that it was being foreclosed upon. She, her son, Michael Vercher, and his fiancee, Dana Lamanac, had until Nov. 6 to move out.
"We were just cleaning up and trying to get rid of some stuff so we wouldn't have so much to move if we did find a place," Hobbs told ABCNews.com.
Vercher had the idea to post an ad on Craigslist to give away some of the items the family did not need, Hobbs said.
Vercher said he posted the ad on Craigslist Tuesday night to advertise the "fairly large, free yard sale," inviting people to "come over and take whatever you want and how much you want." The sale would start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and would finish "when everything's gone."
Everything that was to be given away was put outside the home Tuesday night for people to take the next day.
But the family realized it had gotten more than it bargained for, Vercher said, when a realtor called early Wednesday to say that sale-goers were going beyond the yard, that the home was "ravaged" before the sale was set to begin.
No one was at the home when people started to arrive for the sale. The family was staying with Hobbs' mother just five minutes away.
When Hobbs and Lamanac arrived at the home just after 10 a.m., she said, nearly 20 cars were parked in the cul de sac. She said she watched people she had never seen before carrying the family's belongings out of their home and into their cars.
Hobbs said her house had been cleaned out by the time she arrived.
"Someone broke in and opened the front door," said Hobbs. "Then, it was just a free for all."
While the family tried to explain that the things inside the home were off limits, people just walked away with their property.
Hobbs said she successfully recovered her grandmother's sewing machine that was nearly 100 years old. But she was unable to get back much of what was taken from inside the home, including Lamanac's three guitars and the family's computer monitor.
"They basically emptied packed boxes, went through our things, and took what they wanted," Hobbs said. "It was just mayhem. It was like vultures."
Cherokee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said Hobbs told authorities the front door was left unlocked.
Baker said that without serial numbers it would be difficult for investigators to track down the items taken from the family's home. But if anyone came forward with new information about the property taken from the home, officials would look into it, he said.
In the meantime, Vercher said he was monitoring Craigslist to see if any items taken from the home were being resold online, particularly his fiancee's guitars.
"I can understand if you misunderstood or you got the wrong idea, but it's still our stuff and we would like it back," Vercher said.