Vet Brutally Murdered Trying to Buy a Christmas Present on Craigslist.

I must admit that this story hit me pretty hard this morning. It’s not often that I get upset – I mean it seems like every day we’re bombarded with stories of violence, crime and debauchery, so it takes a lot these days to upset me.

I’m not really sure why this story affected me so much when I read it, but something about it hit me deep down inside. Maybe it’s because this man was a father, maybe it’s because he was just trying to do something nice for his parents, or maybe it’s because I’m so sick of seeing good people hurt by a culture that’s out of control.

Last week, National Guard Sergeant First Class Jim Vester was killed while trying to buy his parents an iPad that he found listed on Craigslist.

Vester Family
(Image source: YouCaring)

Police say the whole thing was a setup from the beginning, and two Indianapolis brothers have now been charged in the killing of the Iraq war veteran. Phone records showed the moments that lead up to the killing:

Phone records show at 3:05 p.m., Vester texted “Can I get your address”

At 3:14, the suspects responded, “920 Wyckford Dr”

Then four minutes later, the suspects texted, “tell me wen your getting close so I can direct you.”

Then at 3:49pm Vester says, “are you here?”

The return text was immediate, “yes.”

Five minutes later Jim Vester was shot and killed.

I almost didn’t write anything about it, but I felt the need to talk about  it for a couple of reasons. First, I think we’ve reached a pretty sad place in this country when people are willing to kill over such a trivial amount of money. This was a man’s life. A father; a son; a husband, and now he’s gone. And for what, a couple hundred dollars?

On her Facebook page, Jim’s wife wrote:

I am so happy his story has went viral worldwide so maybe people will think twice about trying to run a scam/robbery/murder through Craigslist or any other site. I want to focus on all of the good Jim brought to this world and not focus on the people who did this to him please. God has given me more strength in this situation than I ever thought was possible. This past Friday a rainbow was in the sky and my sister sent it to me; she said it wasn’t raining or anything just there in the sky. I know it was Jim saying he was at peace now. God works in mysterious ways.

Which brings me to the second reason I’m writing about this story, I want this to serve as a warning for everyone who uses these internet sites to buy and sell goods. I know a lot of our readers use sites like Craigslist to save money on their preparedness items, and with the holidays coming up I know a lot of people are probably using those sites to buy gifts for family and friends.

I wrote an article on protecting yourself while buying and selling on craigslist a while back, and I want to make sure that anyone who uses these sites are aware of the risks, and are able to take adequate precautions when using them. The internet has become a haven for criminals, and sites like craigslist have become infiltrated by the scum of the earth.

Last, I can’t even imagine the pain this family is going through. Jim Vester was a husband, and he was a father to a one year old son, Gavin. His family has set up a memorial fund to help the family with expenses. The fundraising page can be viewed here.

Shirts of Liberty


    • The myth if that poverty leads to vicious criminal attacks. Alas, it is lack of socialization and the absence of parenting–especially in the developmental years of 0-3, with its attendant lack of super-ego development/lack of empathy that leads to depersonalizing others and then victimizing them. Our cities have truly become “Escape from New York.”

        • It’s greed… the children learn from the parents, and the cycle continues. This is not just an impoverished problem, there are many stories of kids from wealthy families that take the life because of jealousy/greed/hatred/lack of love.
          Being poor doesn’t make you violent. I agree with Jur Bvywe – it starts at home – Break the cycle.

          • It’s called having no morals or values!! A human life means nothing to some people. Disgusting!!

          • Some kids turn bad regardless of how well the parents did. Too many people today, rich or poor, have an attitude of entitlement.

        • When my kids were really small, we lived on welfare for a few years. We barely got enough money to pay for necessities & many times had nothing left by the end of the month. It never dawned on us to go out & commit a crime in order to “better” ourselves. We made due with what we had or did without. This went on for almost 10 years before we changed our situation & got off welfare. We became the working poor…too rich for welfare, but not enough to afford health insurance, new clothes, or other things that would have made life a little easier. Even during those times, it still never crossed our minds to steal, murder or commit any crime to get what we wanted. If we didn’t earn it, we didn’t get it. And you know what? Our kids, now grown, are living in the same way, earning every dollar they get. How about that?! It’s called morality…something sadly lacking in many locations, rich & poor alike. Rich people commit crimes too, just listen to the news. It’s not about being poor, or where you live. It’s what you learn. You can easily un-learn it & rise above it too.

      • I whole heartedly agree with you Jur Bvwye. A generation with no empathy or respect for human life is being created. People only care about themselves and what they want. Children have such a sense of entitlement for nothing in return these days. It’s only going to get worse and its very scary to think about the future for my children.

      • no, it does not start with drugs. it starts with mental health problems and those are caused by a variety of things.

        The ignorance of some people.

          • Agreed +1. Evil.

            Man, what a world! You have to distrust everyone and bring a gun to a silly transaction like this, not your wallet?

            I’ll probably have no children. This world sucks more every day. Sad.

        • Not all violence is from the mentally ill. These people weren’t mentally ill, they were just regular scum bags who killed a innocent person for greed!!! And where did it get them????? Jail!!!!!!! Not the money!!!!!

          • schizophrenics like myself,have a far lower conviction for hurting others,unlike the “normals”, who actually have a higher murder/vicious rate to others.i was bought up by psychopath and mother who did nothing to stop it.she thinks shes holy.i had my pets murdered and forced to eat them,being thumped in the head for crying.i despise cruelty,it’s from morons who love the power.

      • No it does not start with drugs, not every murdered is a drug attick, NOR most drug users are murder’s, god the nerve and ignorance of some people, seeing as majority of people now im America have tried in some shape of form drugs. Pure evil, and totally agree with above statements…

        • What statistic shoes ‘the majority’ of people in America have tried drugs…I think that’s an opinion not a fact. I do agree about this act being evil – is a terrible tragedy :(.

    • Poverty did not do this. I grew up in poverty, I never wanted to hurt anyone much less kill them. Most do not unless they are craving drugs or just downright evil. There is no regard for life.

      • Wow, if it starts with boredom, how come more people are not dead? It is not boredom, when I am bored I find something productive to, and have always done that my whole life, because that is what my parents taught me. It starts in the home, teaching values, the value and sacredness of life. The moral that anything that is worth having is worth working for. The value that you do not take something that you have not earned. So it is values, which start in the home, which includes the evil, the greed, the selfishness, the lack of concern for the other 7 billion people that inhabit this earth. It is not just about YOU selfish fools who did this!

        • Loretta Right on, your right, it starts at home, with teaching values and values of life. I was brought up if I did something wrong I got a spanking and knew not to do it again, most kids now days have NO up bringing they are NEVER spanked or corrected (everyone is afraid too spank) we having to let parents be parents and teach the young ones there are rules to live by.

    • Society’s ills stem from the breakdown of the traditional American family, where values and discipline are taught at home, during a healthy childhood. Nearly all other problems originate from lack of a proper upbringing, with very few exceptions.

    • No, it does not start with poverty! My dad grew up in the slums of New York where him and his grandmother (parents were killed in a car crash) ate on 1 chicken all week because they were too poor to buy any other meat. He grew up with morals and ethics taught to him. He provided for my mother and 4 of us kids and we had a good life. None of us have ever had drug or legal problems because WE WERE TAUGHT MORALS AND ETHICS!!!

    • Raymond… are an idiot……. don’t you dare try to soften by saying the 2 mf’s that killed him was because of poverty…… they are scum…..period!
      You are scum for your words

    • Bull shit! I’m a retired correctional officer. It starts with the judicial system who refuses to lock up people like this until they kill someone. I bet these punks have a rap sheet a mile long.

    • My heart goes out to Jim’s wife and son’ and family. What a tragic thing to happen when we are getting ready to prepare for Christmas and celebrate the birth of Christ! I use craigs list a lot and now I will really be careful. Thank you for giving us heads up! Love and Peace at Christmas. Anna

    • The poverty excuse is old! It’s called greed and lack of morals. The government teaches people that if someone else has something you want you just take it from them. People have no problem doing this anymore because it is a way of life. Why work hard for a living and earn what you have when you can just take it from someone else?? Many people are poor but few commit crimes like this! Poverty is a liberal excuse to take more!

  1. Wow, that’s just unbelievable. Life is not regarded as precious by so many these days. It’s a sad time. Good to stay sharp and mindful of surroundings, this is an unfortunate reminder.

    • Eric, locally it was reported that Jim did carry a gun with him to this transaction as a safety precaution. There are no guarantees.

      • The key is to leave home the good will. He went armed with gun and good will. And the last part costed him his life.

        Too bad, too sad.

      • Hmm. Gotta say guns don’t kill people, people kill people with guns. They could use knives. or clubs, or any other thing. Again, go back to the core of the problem, the home and the values taught there. Only mature adults should be having children, not selfish young children having children, which is happening all too often.

        • Loretta,
          What does children having children have to do with anything that is going on? I was 17 with my first, and now married with another! Both of my Kids are respectful, polite, and very helpful. For Christmas my 8 year old asked “santa” if he would just meet him at the children’s hospital so they could pass out toys together to the kids. (But Im a kid raising a kid) It has nothing to do with the age of when you have a kid as long as you can teach them the morals and values of life. Poverty has nothing to do with this either. Im sure more then half of the people commenting fall into that category. Doesn’t mean any of them are going to murder anyone. you are right about people killing with guns, but you are SOOO WRONG with the children having children statement!!! People who murder can do it for any unknown reasons. There is no justifying why a person would kill!!!!!

      • That surely is no the answer. Reducing access to guns only disarms the law abiding citizens. The bad guys don’t follow the law and will always have and find a way to get their hands on guns.

        • You can completely erase guns from society, and the killers will find a new and inventive way to cause the death of another. Cavemen killed each other with sticks and stones.

      • NoGunsInOz, how’s the violence doing down there since the gun ban? Skyrocketed hasn’t it…including armed assaults. Don’t say gun bans will solve the problem when your own country is proof positive of just the opposite.

      • reducing access does not lower does not work in civilized countries and law enforcement there will tell you that. the problem is that we live in a country that will give someone life for possession of pot but will give the person doing bodily harm a slap on the wrist.we need the courts to put these punks behind bars forever or sentence them to death and not make statements that its poverty.and other lame reasons.they are hearless punks that think life owes them everything and they will take it.bring back a eye for a eye and see how quic
        k things will stop

      • Do your research, reducing access to guns does not work in civilized countries. Are you serious. IF every home owner in America (with exceptions of course), the less crime would be. If this country has a heart to follow God’s laws crime would be reduced tremendously. Since we have taken God out of schools, out of public office, replaced it with hippocrites and peole who beleive what they are told by government, because they are to lazy to study for themselves, they think to get rid of guns will solve problems, and they will soon find out, that they were ignorant. It is satan having his rule here on earth. But one day, we will all answer for what we have done.

  2. Not to long ago I responded to an ad on Free Cycle. Everything was done through emails. The person wanted me to go to the next town over. They wanted me to go to their place on an unmarked dirt road. They said they would direct me when I got close. Normally I would have said no we can meet in a public place which is what I do in 95% of the time and always with someone else with me but this time I instantly felt like those were red flags so I told them I wasn’t going to make it to that town anytime soon. They didn’t even answer that one back. This persons death you posted about should never have happened. It is very sad. It is good to see you spreading the word and reminding others of what is out there. Use caution and follow instincts. If you must reply to these ads then meet in a very public place. If they won’t then it wasn’t worth the buy, sale, or trade. Ones life is what’s important.

  3. I haven’t used craigslist in a few years but I sold a monitor for a computer and decided to meet the person at walmart during the day for the transaction, he was friendly, I offered to refund him if he had any problems in a week, but I didn’t sell it for too much, just wanted to get rid of it. It’s really sad that thieves and murderers have become one and the same. What a loss of life on both sides.

    • It is an old proverb that where you find a liar you also find a thief, and where you find a thief you also find a murderer.

  4. As I look around the area I am temporarily in I see many people who would stick a knife in you if you dare to not look and smile acting like their friend. They are criminals, people with emotional problems, drug addicts the normal people do not go to certain shopping centers because those wanting money are getting more violent if you say no.That is where the place in the 1960’s was a quiet God fearing high church attending area.

  5. This one hit me really hard as Im am mother/mother in law to Navy kids/family. That these thugs chose to do something so horendous and cowardly is just beyond sickening. I pray for this brave Veterans family and I pray for punishment and swift violent karmic justice! to these scum! An Eye for an eye!

  6. Had a kid sell a car on Craigslist. Did all the paperwork but the buyer did not follow up with changing the registration. The buyer gets arrested, drugs and stolen guns found in car, car goes to impound, cops visit kid. A month later kid gets a bill from impound ’cause the car’s still registered to him. Even with signed bill of sale and ‘release of liability’ from the registration he had a huge legal mess. The same disaster could happen with a classified ad in the newspaper. Makes you want to complete all transactions in front of the courthouse or police station, hopefully the criminals would stand you up.

  7. These two brothers acted like animals and should be dealt with in the same way.If it had been two dogs or wild animals attacking him they would have been hunted down and shot on sight,they deserve the same treatment.

    • my dog saved my life,once for epilepsy,another he turned into a snarling drooling werewolf at men in park,he’s a golden retriever,never acts like that,he ran around me in semi circles till we got to the road,plenty of dogs rescue lost ill hurt peiple,and kids.

  8. Animals act nicer than most human beings . Animals have more compassion . Dogs turn bad because bad people mistreat them . Don’t please equate these scum with gods more beautiful creation

    • You are right people turn dogs they are not born mean. I have what would be a bully bread as they are classified and she is a big baby and cries if she scratches you. These dogs were never born to be what they are blamed for I say punish the human that has the dog and rehabilitate the dog. (and yes that can be done)

  9. I believe we are raising self absorbed, desensitized, sociopathic monsters in this country. There is zero accountability, zero responsibility, and zero compassion in today’s youth. If they want something they can have it, God forbid they should be taught to work for it. Kids are no longer taught to respect ANYTHING, not their neighbors, their elders, teachers, or themselves. Drugs and poverty be damned, society no longer allows kids to be punished, to be held responsible for their own actions, or to “feel bad” about themselves, even if the situation calls for it. I was more worried about my parents anger as a kid than the police. God help me if I disrespected myself or anyone else, and that’s how I raised my kids. The parents of these two need to be jailed as well.

    • Amen to marci gifford!! She said EXACTLY what i was thinking!! I support everything you said, AMEN! Nobody could of said it better, you go girl!

    • Amen…seriously. Marci you hit the nail on the head! I was just discussing this with a colleague the other day. We sure were raised differently…today it’s all about not hurting some kids feeling and ego, some team gets their a$$es beat at football and parents and other officials saying the game should have been terminated for “mercy”, what?! Then a bunch of kids break into that poor ex-footballers house and the parents want to sue HIM for turning around and outing their kids on Twitter…how bout a swift kick in the a$$ and an apology for the delinquent you’re raising?! This is what is being raised in this country, a bunch of disrespectful, unnaccountable, please don’t hurt my feelings little shits that are the “future” of this country. A shame, a damn shame! If I even dared tried to pull half of the crap these kids are today I’d never make it to a court appearance because I would have been in the hospital, my mom did not play! There’s no discipline, parents are to afraid of CPS and what not. Someone mentioned drugs? This has nothing to do with drugs, there has always been drugs…what’s happening is a complete disrespect for human life and greed!

    • AMEN!!!! Problem with kids now a days is you can’t WHIP their asses or its automatic DCFS jail time abuse! Growing up my parents would WHIP my rear if I did anything out of turn! There was no limit on this and I was more afraid of getting whooped and screamed at by my parents then anything else and I turned out just fine! These kids need a damn ass whipping because its the problem today in the middle of the grocery store god forbid you smack your child because they are getting outta line or running off to be kidnapped you’ll have a million ppl calling the police on you because you abused your child! Well NOW everyone wonders why these lil shits grow up with no respect getting everything handed to them because its now more society has made the parent afraid of jail time for discipling a child rather the “child” fearing the parent when they get home! I tell ya what I was told by a social worker neck and below any part of my body CAN spank my child as long as no mark SO MY CHILDREN WILL NOT grow up being this new day an age child sociopath statistic!

  10. I’m sorry but the last sentence in the first paragraph is also part of the reason we are in the sad state of affairs these days. We have become saturated and desensitized to everything. This is EXACTLY the problem. Why are willing to accept the status quo of our society? If this man had died at war and his face ran across the World News no one would probably remember his name 5 minutes after it aired. Sad but true. Not because our soldiers don’t matter but because we are bombarded daily, constantly and repeatedly with bad news. We are starting to accept this as the norm which is very scary to me as I grow into those senior years and especially for future generations. The world will become like that 1981 movie Escape From New York. People have no honor or respect today. God Bless this man and his family. Totally senseless loss of life.

  11. There was a local dr. from around here murdered before Thanksgiving. Strange story that I still don’t understand , something involving a sexual $22.00.

  12. In this world we have let so many evil things happen and in turn people have become selfish and self serving. This in itself leads people to poverty drugs and violence. If things were as they had been years ago when people cared about one another and not be so selfish things could be better. I believe that having people who are offended by God fearing people and the government taking so much from us and we stand by and let it happen. We should help who we can when we can and yes be careful doing so as some people will bite the hand that feeds them. It is so sad to see this poor man loose his life and I pray for his family and friends. I will also pray for everyone out there and if your offended well sorry about that but I will pray for you anyway since you probably need it most of all.

  13. It starts at home period. This is the backlash of parental rights being taken away. Not being able to discipline your children. Not being able to teach right from wrong. There is way to much violence that children are seeing and not just on TV they are seeing it first hand.

  14. So very sorry for your loss. Craigslist is a very shaded place to say the least. I myself have experienced the shadyness (?speling) and I know a few others have as well. What to look for (personal experience)-if they are not willing to meet you in public do not agree to meet. I was trying to get a pet and the man wanted me to go to his house instead of meeting at Kroger’s. A friend responded to an add about renting a place. Went to look at the address and no house just a long rode. They told her to keep coming down the rode. All they saw where headlights waiting in the bushes. Turned around and called the police. Turns out there were about 4 trucks back there waiting on them. If they won’t meet in public or sounds to good to be true STAY AWAY!

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