SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – A website that started off as a joke is responsible for foiling another murder plot.
Rent-A-Hitman creator Bob Innes was surprised to find that some people were taking the site too seriously.
He said he was working with law enforcement to catch criminals who are not in the joke.
âSo I brought a bit of a show,â Innes said. “Nevada Police Department … Indonesian case.” “
In a quiet Fairfield park, wearing dark sunglasses to partially protect his identity, Innes said he has been receiving these messages for more than a decade from all kinds of people hoping for help.
âHere are some emails she submitted,â Innes said, showing her pages and pages of printed emails. “It’s just a lot of solicitations from people all over the world.”
Innes said he describes himself as a “Cyber ââCrusader … yeah, I’m the webmaster of rentahitman.com, your point-and-click solution.
He launched the website in 2005 when he started an IT business.
âIt was a play on words. âRentâ like in hire us, âhitâ like in web results, visitors, traffic, analytics, that sort of thing, âsaid Innes.
The business quickly fizzled out, but the site took on a life of its own.
When Innes checked the email attached to the website a few years later, he said he had hundreds of unread messages with several dark requests.
âWhat’s the best way to handle it? ” he said
The game-changing request came in 2010 from a woman named Helen. She said she wanted three members of her family to be murdered.
âI responded with a very simple email. “Do you still need our services and want me to put you in touch with the field agent?” “And she said” yes, “” Innes said.
He passed the messages on to law enforcement and Helen was eventually arrested.
“So this is the case that really started it all,” Innes said.
Since then, he said he had avoided 150 murders.
This month, a 51-year-old Michigan woman pleaded guilty to attempting to use her website to hire a hitman to kill her husband.
This happened despite several indications that the website is a sham.
âThere are several red flags on the website. There is an advertising banner. It opens a new browser window for the Internet Crime Complaints Center which is run by the FBI, âInnes said.
He described those trapped by the website as âfruits at hand. They are not rocket surgeons, you might say.
Despite several reports written on the website, Innes said requests continued to flow.
Some are hoaxes, but some are very real.
âIt’s scary because they’re walking among us,â Innes said. âI mean, I’ve had cases in Lake County and Stockton and LA, I’m currently working on a case with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. It really makes you wonder who is there. Are they your neighbors? Are they your business associates? We never know.”
Fortunately, Innes is there to try to stop them.
Even though 90% of requests to the website are hoaxes, Innes pointed out that this means 10% are for pay murders, and those are passed on to authorities.
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