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. CNNuthin

    I think they should let him off. Sure, minor annoyance to some detectives but as a joke, it is funny. Something I'd do. He turned himself in, got a scare of a possible fine and now people will learn from his example. No need to punish him further. The guy is probably terrified of losing his kids, getting a fine and/or jail time. That is enough societal deterrence to keep others from doing the same thing. Lesson learned time to move on to the next subject. I laughed Joshua Stagnitto. Hopefully someone saved the ad so I can see it later and get a good laugh at that too.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. LadyKnyte

    The arrogant person who called CPS should face charges!! False allegations destroy childrens lives. There needs to be a law against it.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. mb2010a

    It was an April Fools Day joke people,,,perhaps in poor taste, as most jokes are. Get a life.
    Every one knows you can get more bidders on eBay anyway.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. shan22044

    So...people seemto be forgetting that people have used Craigslist or some other classified ad mechanism to actually try to sell a baby for real...

    April 24, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    @AGeek – right on! Couldn't agree more. @every one else who can't take a joke – get over it and move on.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jokes are now banned

    No, we can't make jokes anymore because - OMG - someone might get OFFENDED. OR call the cops. OR file a lawsuit. It's completely ridiculous. Our ancestors would be shocked at our hypersensitivity and hysteria and fear-mongering.

    These "serial do-gooders" are nothing but nosy busybodies who have nothing better to do with their time than try to ruin other people's lives.

    Maybe I'll post an ad on CL - "My Eternal Soul For Sale" - and see how many religious nut-jobs call the cops about it. Yeesh.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. gary

    What and idiot! He should have leased them out with option to buy to families looking to adobt.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. ashley

    To those who are saying "can't you take a joke..."

    He was "joking" about something that is a CRIME. What if I joked on craigslist that I had a homemade bomb for sale that could be used to blow up a building in NYC? When investigated they would see that I don't have anything to make a bomb with, and have no knowledge of bomb-making and would realize it was just a joke! I should totally get off the hook, even though I caused public alarm, and the police spent hours investigating. It would be the person's fault that reported the "joke" not mine...

    Good grief people, it was a joke, but if you are going to joke about something that is a crime, then expect people to be alarmed. Expect to be investigated, and expect to be charged when all is said and done. You are stupid to joke about committing a crime on the internet....

    April 24, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    The sad part...multi-fold. First, someone is actually dumb enough to buy into the story and call CPS for the most glaringly obvious, what should be harmless, joke in the world. They should be charged with a misdemeanor based on sheer stupidity alone. Second, the fact that as a result the police actually have to conduct an investigation which, as any reasonable individual can deduce, is going to demonstrate that this was a joke. A waste of time and manpower. OK, none of this would have happened in the absence of the joke which, while an old premise, still is somewhat funny. So the guy gets charged for a misdemeanor for a harmless joke...fine. But I still can't get over the inherent idiocy of people to actually believe an advertisement selling a parent's children. Mind-boggiling. Just hard to even fathom. Wow, that's all I can say.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Zhukov

    Try using the word bomb on April 1 on an airplane and you'll get the same result. Some things aren't very funny.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. wow3012

    Did they ever try to see if anyone actually tried to buy them, What about hose idiots...

    April 24, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Emile Zola

    What some people won't do for their 15 minutes of fame. I think this incident has prank written all over.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    I'd bet if the police ignored this situation and and the children were actually sold, all of the people laughing at this "joke" would instead have feelings of anger and hatred towards the very same police force.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. deborah

    When did we all lose our sense of humor.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. JLM

    Yes it was a joke....HAHA funny! The problem is someone called the police, which caused an investigation, which costs money! He should be responsible for paying the city/county/state, or whomever back!!!!

    April 24, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
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