WSVN — We've all heard stories about the dangers of responding to online ads, but rarely are the confrontations caught on camera. This time, it was. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
How's this for a landlord-tenant dispute?
Albert Diaco: "You go, get the hell out of my house! You're trying to kill me! You're all trying to kill me! Everybody's trying to kill me. I'll kill all of you. (screams) You get your [expletive]. You're trying to kill me."
That's Albert Diaco caught on cellphone video. He's yelling at a man who says he paid to rent a room in Diaco's mobile home.
Howard Brown: "He started screaming and yelling and then he went and called the police. I went and called the police."
Howard Brown says he paid Diaco $130 in response to a Craigslist ad, but he did not get a receipt or a contract. He did, however, get kicked out without even spending one night in the Davie home.
The reason? He had too many bags. Brown says he did not get his money back.
Howard Brown: "Then he started saying he gave me the money back and, you know, he just got so excited and so, you know, so mad."
Diaco's rage continued even after police arrived.
Albert Diaco: "They are threatening me, these two people. Get the hell out of my house!"
Ron Barrera: "He was screaming and cursing."
Ron Barrera, Howard's friend, took the video. He says both were shocked at Diaco's behavior.
Ron Barrera: "He seemed like a respectable, honest man. We were getting to know him for about two hours before we gave him any money."
It turns out, Diaco's done this before. The responding Davie Police officer immediately knew what the dispute was about.
Responding Officer: "Let me guess, Craigslist. I'm tired of you. I'm tired of you."
Davie Officer: "There wasn't like a flag or something on Craigslist about him?"
Howard Brown: "No, no. "
Davie Officer: "There should have been, because, you know how many people he's snookered out of money?"
Howard Brown: "So why can't you arrest him?"
Davie Officer: "Because it's a civil matter, sir."
And that means Brown would have to go to small claims court to try to get his money back.
Albert Diaco: "That's it." (door slams)
Davie Police Sgt. Pablo Castaneda: "This has been happening, you know, repeatedly, but it's not criminal in nature because there's a verbal contract that was in place."
7News has obtained records that show police have been to Diaco's home 16 times so far this year. There were a couple of service and information calls, and five for disturbances, but seven calls since February were for civil matters.
Sgt. Pablo Castaneda: "Pretty much, landlord-tenant disputes where somebody sees an ad, they respond to the ad for a room for rent. At some point after that verbal contract is made, there's a disagreement."
Diaco's ad has been posted 167 times on Craigslist in just the last month and a half. All offer a private furnished bedroom ,"130 a week cheap! Cash only!!"
I tried to talk about all this with Diaco. It was a one-way conversation.
Carmel Cafiero: "I'd like to talk with you about your rental practices and a dispute with a gentleman named Howard Brown. Would you come talk to me for a minute?"
He said he did not know Brown, but that's all he said. And as a repairman walked out the door, Diaco ducked inside and stayed there.
Carmel Cafiero: "Hello? Are you gonna come back out and talk to me? I'd like very much to talk to you about your ads on Craigslist."
Davie Police, meanwhile, plan to pay close attention to any other landlord-tenant calls at Diaco's mobile home. As for Howard Brown, he's found a new room to rent, but the loss of his $130 has been hard to take.
Howard Brown: "Yeah, this hurt me a lot, because this was like my last money."
Diaco's ad for a room to rent is still up and running on Craigslist. Carmel Cafiero, 7News.
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