Local murder triggers questions about Craigslist

SELINSGROVE – Following the murder of a Port Trevorton man, Craigslist is once again in the spotlight as a potentially dangerous way to meet people. Police say 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara met 18-year-old Miranda Barbour on Craigslist and the two agreed to meet. Barbour is accused of stabbing LaFerrara to death after she claims he was groping her in the car.

 

Barbour told police she used Craigslist to meet other men and was paid by them. We spoke with Point Township Police Chief Joshua VanKirk, who was not speaking about this case, but said meeting people online can be very dangerous.

 

VanKirk said, “Unfortunately on the Internet, there is a proliferation of everything from child pornography to other types of dangerous encounters. I personally would love to see people get back to establishing relationships the old-fashioned way, for lack of better terms.”

 

In addition, he said despite warnings posted, not everyone follows that. VanKirk said, “If you look specifically on Craigslist and many other sites, they have bold, large red text warnings at the top saying be careful of long-distance purchases and things of that nature. But I do think, being very candid, that one of the issues is that people are sometimes trying to sell things because they need money quick, and unfortunately, sometimes when people are desperate, sometimes we look past the red flags that we would typically see.”

 

When it comes to Internet crime, it’s a real challenge to law enforcement, according to VanKirk. He says many times the culprit online lives outside the state, or even outside the country, and police can spend an overwhelming amount time investigating. VanKirk said sometimes it can be a “wild goose chase” to find the person on the other end of an online crime. (Ali Stevens)

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