April 24th, 2010
12:51 AM ET

Man says Craigslist post offering to sell kids was a joke

New York State Police have arrested a man accused of posting his children for sale on Craigslist.

Joshua Stagnitto told police it was a joke, said Investigator Bryan R. Blum of New York State Police in Rochester. Stagnitto turned himself in when he got transportation to come to the police station, Blum said.

Stagnitto, 24, of Brockport, is charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

Blum told CNN the charge against Stagnitto stems from the fact "that he indicated a baseless allegation of a crime which caused public alarm" and triggered an investigation.

A member of the public called child protective services earlier in April after seeing the post. Authorities began a probe, and had to "make sure that if there are two kids for sale, that they be tracked down and nothing happened to them," Blum said.

When questioned by police, Stagnitto admitted he put the posting on Craigslist, the investigator said.

The two children remain with Stagnitto and their mother, whom Blum described as Stagnitto's "significant other."

Police do not believe the children are in any danger, he said.

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Stagnitto could face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, Blum said.

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soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Just Me

    The Ad was obviously a Joke and the Ad Stated it was a Joke. But the NY State Revenue Inreaser's (State Police) have nothing better to do than to pursue a citizen for an obvious joke based on the whining of one of the state's self appointed socialist enforcers. Between Social Services and all of the Law Enforcement involved, you would think someone would have had a little common sense, but instead the taxpayers of New York are probably out $10,000 in civil servant labor. Just think what might have been prevented if those same State Troopers were actually concerned with preventing crime or the Social Services people were actually concerned with improving life for the folks who need them. How does a NYS Trooper stop crime? No one knows, they are too busy giving out seat belt tickets and cell phone tickets.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cathy

    I live in Rochester and it was posted on the bottom of the "ad" that it was a joke. As a mom I think it's funny. Parenting requires a sense of humor...somedays that's the only thing that gets your through!!!

    April 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cathy

    BTW the kids were young -1 and 2, too young to care about an ad on craigslist....

    April 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hal Summers

    What parent hasn't joked about selling their kids? C'mon. To continue this case is a stupid waste of public funds and who is ultimately being hurt by continuing this case? The kids. To fine the parent or put them in jail hurts the kids. That money would be spent on them and the time the dad has to spend in court could've been spent with his kids.

    Here's the solution: Have the DA make a deal with the dad that he has to take the kids out to ice cream every Saturday for three months. Prosecuting this case is a waste of taxpayer money and only hurts those kids.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Auggie

    Crime Lords and murderers are on the street and this guy could face up to a year in jail. It was a joke, maybe not the smartest joke, but come on. Yell at the guy and send him on his way. Doesn't the police dept have better things to be doing?

    April 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    People need to take a breath.. my parents always threatened to sell me to the gypsy's if I wasn't good, I knew they were joking.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dleary

    Children's Services AND the police are legally obligated to undertake the investigation. Doesn't matter than it was a joke.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Coaster

    I guess the police were afraid if they didn't make any arrests that day, their jobs would be on the line. I mean, this is SO OBVIOUSLY a joke...the number of times my dad threatened to sell me to the gypsies, and my grandfather before him.....we could have bought our police department hand stitched silk uniforms.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. me, Philadelphia, PA

    When I first heard of Craigslist, I thought wow, a cool way to make new friends. However, every single person I EVER met on that site turned out to be nuts in one way or another.
    Every man on Craigslist is looking for a cheap lay and every woman is a complete flake. I went out to dinner with a man from Craigslist and while he was nice and sweet in his emails, in person he was awful and insulting to the restaurant staff, an absolute embarassment to be seen with. When he went to the mens' room, I ditched him and went home. By the time I had gotten home, this man had taken my picture, name, and email address and advertised me on Craigslist as a hooker. He's in jail now. It's sad how a nice idea that can be used to forge new friendships can be turned into something that shows the awful side of humanity. It seems no one in America anymore thinks about consequences or has empathy for another person.

    April 24, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. me, Philadelphia, PA

    I think the police did the right thing – there is so much sex trafficking on Craigslist, you can't tell who is joking and who isn't.

    April 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. josh

    So can we sell parents instead since they are of age? What if the parents are unbalanced? Could the parents get taken away from their children or elderly neglect??? JUST KIDDING IM JOKING DONT ARREST ME!!!!

    The police honestly need to do something more constructive with their time other than investigate a joke? Obviously these guys have never had a tickle in their funny bone.

    April 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Larrabee

    There's nothing wrong with a joke like this. So if I listed my wife on Craigslist as a joke, that would be okay because it doesn't involve children? It was a listing, not any sort of actual offer. I miss my childhood of 40 years ago, when parents were allowed to be human and the authorities acted with discretion.

    April 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joy

    What everybody seems to be overlooking, is that the police HAD to investigate this.
    Because children really are sold, and yes, right here in the USA>
    The punishment is warranted. And he should have to repay the authorities for the resources wasted on his joke.
    Calling in a bomb scare to a school, is most of the time just a prank by a kid.
    But the reaction to the threat is the same whether it's a prank or not.
    That's the problem with thinking that if it's "just" a prank that no harmwas done.

    April 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MK

    Wow...my parents made jokes all the time about selling me or giving me or my brothers away when people commented on how cute we were. These days, we have the internet so unless he posted information that gave away exactly where his kids were and that sort of thing, then get over it and don't make it such a big deal. I have seen much worse posted "as jokes" on random pages!

    April 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. simba1965

    OMG!! Can't anyone joke anymore at all?!! I think it's hilarious!!-The poor guy shouldn't have to pay anything-he should file for false arrrest! This world is getting SO unfunny & that's exactly what we need-more laughs-I knew it was a joke as soon as I saw the headline-geez people..come on...

    April 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
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