WOODSTOCK, Ga. (WXIA) -- A family in Woodstock, who just lost their home of 20 years to foreclosure and are preparing to move out, lost even more on Wednesday.
And it was because of what they triggered when they posted a craigslist ad Tuesday night.
Their online post was just a well-meaning ad for a giveaway in their driveway outside the small house, a giveaway scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
But big crowds showed up and ended up taking practically everything inside the house, too.
Wednesday night, Michael Vercher walked 11Alive's Jon Shirek through his family's almost empty soon-to-be former home.
"Well, when we got to the house, I mean, pretty much -- this," he said as he stepped from the foyer into the living room.
Their home -- ransacked, ravaged, raked over.
Almost everything inside -- gone.
"They came in and just tore the place up," he said.
People responding to the family's craigslist ad showed up at the house earlier than 10 a.m., before Vercher arrived there from work to supervise the giveaway.
And when he drove up to the house, he said, they had already broken into it, helping themselves to almost everything inside.
And he could not stop them.
"Everyone was inside the house; they were taking out items," he said. "There were cars around the block. It was like ants in and out of the house."
He spoke of how they took family keepsakes, all their clothes and shoes -- everything but a few books left scattered across the carpet.
Vercher's fiancee, Dana Lamanac, said they took her guitars, which were gifts from her father.
"There's two guitars that really mean a lot to me," Lamanac said. "They were my dad's, and that's irreplaceable to me. That's really the only thing I want back. I hope somebody has enough courage and respect for other people to bring the stuff back. I mean it's like the only thing he gave to me. It really means a lot to me."
Lamanac said she and Vercher's mother arrived at the house about the same time Vercher did, thinking they were there in plenty of time to help distribute the items outside that they'd intended to give to the people who showed up.
"When we got here, me and his mom jumped out of the car and said, 'This is our stuff, don't take anything,' I mean, 'If you have something, put it back,'" Lamanac said. "And this one woman actually, like, got in our faces and stuff, and started saying no, and everybody else just kind of drifted by us and didn't listen and took the stuff and left."
She said a couple of people did return the items they took.
Here is the online ad that the family placed Tuesday night:
"Fairly large, free yard sale. Moving and we want everything to go for free. So come over and take whatever you want and how much you want. Here are a couple of items that will be there: Couch, chairs, lots of household and kitchen items, appliances, a wardrobe, desk, recliner, movies, lots of books, lamps, women's and teens' clothing, etc. And also a box of free food with lots of cans. Please take only if you need it. We're starting at 10 a.m., October 24th, and we'll finish when everything's gone."
Vercher said he understands why people misunderstood the family's ad because of the way they worded it.
"Never thought in a million years that they would come and take all of our stuff in the house," he said, emphasizing that he had planned to arrive from work before anyone else showed up. "They probably thought that they were allowed to come [inside], and they saw other people coming in and out, and they thought it was OK."
He said Woodstock police told the family it would be difficult, if not impossible, to figure out who initially broke into the house Wednesday morning, and that everyone else who arrived after that could claim, from the way the ad is worded, that the family meant for people to take the interior's contents, as well.
"It's just a nightmare," he said, shaking his head.
About all he has, now, is a request -- a request of those who were inside:
"Lived in this house for 20 years, my whole life," he said. "It's our family home. We have to get out because of the foreclosure. We don't have much and now we have even less. You'd like to think there's good people. I mean, I hope they would have a good enough heart to bring our stuff back. We don't hold any grudges against them, we just want our stuff back. I mean, some of that stuff is irreplaceable."
No questions asked, he said.
The family will also be looking at online ads to see if anyone is now trying to sell their keepsakes.
Vercher, his sister, their mother, and his fiancee have to be out of the house by Nov. 6. They are moving temporarily into the basement of his grandmother's house in Woodstock.
Vercher said that anyone who would like to contact the family about their belongings can email him at