Minneapolis gift shop to close its doors after victimized in bogus curb alert Craigslist post

A Minneapolis small business owner is shutting his doors after a tumultuous year. His small gift shop, Cockadoodledoo in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood was targeted by a sophisticated theft scheme involving a bogus posting on the popular online classified ad site, Craigslist.

Cockadoodledoo is a familiar storefront with its iconic, giant roosters near the intersection of Cedar Lake Road and Penn Avenue South where owner Gerry Seiler fills his front sidewalk with merchandise for sale. It was that merchandise targeted in the fraudulent post in February in what is known as a "Curb Alert." The Craigslist ad announced that everything was free on the sidewalk, all of it must go.

"I'm going to take this as a learning experience, true learning experience, that there are horrible people out there," Seiler recently told FOX 9’s Paul Blume. "It was pretty surreal that this had happened. But I'm on a new journey right now."

Coming out of the retail struggles of the pandemic, Seiler suffered an additional blow with the ad that appeared to be a coordinated effort to ransack and steal his sidewalk merchandise.

FOX 9 obtained surveillance video of the large-scale theft on February 27 with people making off with more than $13,000 dollars in goods.

In a shock to Seiler and others close to him, a Minneapolis Police Department investigation containing search warrant data obtained from Craigslist revealed the seemingly fraudulent post was likely created by someone connected to a business right in the very same neighborhood.

"It was debilitating for me to really understand that somebody would do this egregious act and planned it as well," Seiler explained. "The egregiousness and the mindset of deviant behavior is really unconscionable."

No criminal charges have been filed though Seiler’s spirits were lifted in recent months as the initial FOX 9 story and word-of-mouth spread that the Craigslist ad was a fake, leading some of those who drove off with merchandise to return the goods and apologize.

"I'm humbled to know that there are honorable people out there, and I thank them for that. I really do," said Seiler.

Police reports reviewed by FOX 9 indicate that a cell phone number and email address connected to the fake Craigslist post traced back to a nearby business owner in the very same Bryn Mawr neighborhood. But that owner told investigators 13 people had access to his phone, making it nearly impossible for prosecutors to hold any one individual accountable for a crime.

As for Seiler, while he loves the neighborhood and his store, he has made the difficult decision given everything he has been through and what he describes as a changing Minneapolis to close down this location at the end of October. A sign currently out front of Cockadoodledoo proclaims a 35% off "Moving Sale." Seiler’s shop will be open on weekends until he ultimately closes his doors.