Internet trade offer reels in boat for TV

August 28, 2006|By DAN RODRICKS, the Internet site full of free classifieds organized by city, is a certifiable phenomenon. I'm hearing Craigslist stories all the time now, including, of course, the one about the "full-service female escorts" who've been flying into BWI to rendezvous with "clients" who hired them through the Web site. The most famous - and far more inspiring - Craigstory is the one about Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald bartering his way, over the course of a year, from a red paper clip to a house in Saskatchewan.

I can't top that one - it involved former L.A. Law star Corbin Bernsen, a keg of beer and hang time with Alice Cooper - but I have a fine, local example of how the Craigservice made two guys happy, and with no hookers involved.

We start with Brian Razzaque, Hopkins grad and young urban professional. He has a software and programming company called Vision Multimedia Technologies.

He and his wife recently purchased a waterfront house in Middle River. "It's cottage-like, with add-ons," Razzaque says.

The house has 50 feet of shoreline and a 140-foot pier.

It even came with crab pots. Perfect, hon!

Only one problem with the Middle River "cottage-like" place: No room for the Panasonic 60-inch TV Razzaque purchased in March as a birthday present to himself.

The TV would have fully blocked the windows in the family room.

What to do?

Internet-savvy Razzaque, who had recently heard the red paper clip story, went to and posted the following on the Baltimore barter page on Aug. 7: "I am moving to a small house on the water in Middle River, and have two problems: (a) My 60' LCD Projection TV is too big for the house, and (b) I don't own a boat. I am hoping to resolve these two issues by finding somebody interested in trading their boat for my TV.

"The TV is in nearly new condition. ... It retails for between $2600 and $3000. I am looking specifically for a powerboat that will require little maintenance and is capable of pulling skiers."

Same day, a guy named John contacted Razzaque.

This John guy had a 17-foot Crestliner with an Evinrude outboard. It had belonged to his aunt, the John guy said, and he no longer wanted it. He and Razzaque agreed to the trade.

The John guy drove the boat to Razzaque's place the other day and left it there, trailer and all. He took the TV set with him.

One boat.

One TV.

Two guys happy.

It's a beautiful world, no?

Wanted posting

But here's someone who wouldn't appear to be very happy: A homeowner on Steltz Road, just over the Baltimore County line in Glen Rock, southern Pennsylvania, who had a large sign made and placed on his front lawn. The sign says:

"Our home was just robbed! Did you see anything? $5,000 reward."

You don't see this kind of thing every day, and much less on a long stretch of rural road.

The sign, about half the size of a highway billboard, provides a phone number, which rings up the Pennsylvania State Police, and lists a Web site.

The Web site says this:

"Our home was burglarized around July 17, 2006. The thieves took many of our personal [belongings]. ... With a little luck we hope that you may be able to identify some of the items that were stolen. It is unfortunate that crimes of this nature happen in our neighborhood, but we have the ability to stand up for each other and rid our neighborhood of crime! Please, if you think you have seen anything out of the ordinary, call the secure PA State Police tip line or send an e-mail to the link below. Let's catch these guys and make our community safe again."

I called the listed phone number and a state trooper verified that the Glen Rock home had been burglarized. He would not, however, identify the homeowner who posted the sign and offered the reward for the rural crooks.

I wrote a couple of e-mails to the address listed on the Web site but received no response.

The Web site lists and displays photographs of the items that were stolen: A stainless steel Charbroil gas grill; a 160-piece Craftsman tool set; a Ping Hoofer golf bag, a set of Callaway irons, TaylorMade driver and 3-wood with graphite shafts; a suede rocker-recliner ("Small tear in foot rest"); a child's 12-volt all-terrain vehicle ("Only rode one time") and remote-control Caterpillar toy.

Who knows? Maybe this stuff will end up on Craigslist.

Hear Dan Rodricks Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on WBAL Radio and read his blog at rodricks. Ex-offenders seeking help in finding employment or drug addicts seeking help in arranging treatment should call 410-332-6166.

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