I’m not big on the subject of entrapment. There’s a line that I think shouldn’t be crossed. For example, there may or may not be a pile of people in prison right now over “something” and they’ve not necessarily been afforded their full due process rights. Some of those people may, just may be in prison because of overly zealous entrapment tactics. If someone with the fuzz puts the idea into someone’s head, cultivates it, then enables it, they’re part of the problem and perhaps they created the problem. Someone that gets busted in a sting because they’re seeking to break the law, that’s another story. This brings up an interesting event that occurred recently.
A woman from Michigan just tried to mail-order, over the internet, a hitman to kill her ex-husband. This was not with bitcoin or some other crypto, nor was it through a VPN on the dark web. This was through a regular website called Rent-A-Hitman.
Wendy Wein wanted her ex-husband dead.
In July of 2020 the Michigan woman came across a website, Rent-A-Hitman, that promised to “handle your delicate situation” privately and in a timely manner.
The site boasts having almost 18,000 field operatives who can do a job anywhere in the United States. It features testimonials from satisfied clients, including a man who wrote that RentAHitman “handled my disgruntled employee issue promptly while I was out of town on vacation.”
So Wein filled out a form on the site, seeking consultation for her issue.
“This is kind of weird that your company is not on the deep or dark web,” she wrote in a message to a man she believed was the site’s chief consultant, Guido Fanelli. CNN obtained a copy of the message. “I prefer not going to jail,” she added. “Thanks for your time.”
That didn’t stop Wein from offering later to pay $5,000 to have her husband killed.
It’s so bold to see crime become this mainstream. With all the looting going on across the nation and prosecutors refusing to press charges on “low level” thefts, we can really see how forward the criminal element has become. All those mostly-peaceful protests are a shining example. Running into a site like this actually would not be stranger than fiction in 2021, would it? Except the site is fake.
What started as a website for an internet security business has turned, by accident, into online bait for people looking to get their enemies killed. Their service requests go to Innes, who hands serious inquiries over to law enforcement.
Innes, who lives in Fairfield, California, says he’s left red flags all over his site hinting that it’s a trap. For starters, the website openly suggests that it offers illegal services. Its phony testimonials include one from a woman who’s “ready to mingle” after she caught her husband cheating with a babysitter.
The more libertarian streak in me would be screaming foul about this, but I gotta hand it to the site’s creator, Bob Innes, this is kind of genius. The site is not soliciting for people to jump on and spend their money on their services. It’s not like they’re advertising. Who would do a web search for this kind of thing anyhow, thinking they’ll be okay, and not get caught? This reminds me of the bonsai kitten from the days of yore.
Innes says more than 400 people have filled service request forms on the site since it launched, including some who have expressed interest in becoming hit men and pranksters trying to play jokes on friends. Of those, roughly 10% turned into legitimate cases where police became involved, he says.
“I thought nobody can be that stupid, and boy have I been proven wrong,” says Innes, 54. “These people … whoever they are, they see HIPAA, they think privacy. So they feel compelled to leave their real information — names, address, where the intended target is…”
If someone’s dumb enough to follow though with thinking this is legitimate, they deserve what they get. This should raise the question if we as a society should do more things like this to act as really strong teachable moments to those intent on committing crime.
If a person fills out a form on his site and explicitly seeks to have someone killed, Innes will wait 24 hours before contacting police.
“It’s kind of like a cooling-off period, to come back to your senses. I want to give people the opportunity to walk away,” he says. “After a day, I ask them two questions. Do you still require our services? Do you want to be connected with a field operative?”
If they respond yes to both, Innes connects them with a law enforcement agency in their area, which takes over communications with the suspect. Innes never discusses a fee — he leaves that to the “field operatives.”
“I just play matchmaker with the police,” he says. “I’d rather be a state witness than a state conspirator.”
The matter of murder for hire is nothing to laugh at though. Crime and criminal behavior proliferates without such clearing houses being in existence. Sure, criminals exploit technology to the Nth degree, burner phones being the tip of the iceberg, but they’re not this cavalier. Then again, there have been some websites offering up questionable massages and dating dynamics that have been shot down by the Feds. But those are a whole other matter with a whole host of other questions, such as “where’s the crime here?”
The makeup of a criminal varies just as much as our human population does. I know the conversation about criminals not being dumb comes up all the time. They’re lazy maybe? Not looking to earn their keep the “right” way. And this situation flies in the face of the credit that we attribute to our criminals with higher level thinking. Some of them really are that dumb. This should make all rational people pause to think about what’s really going on in the United States today. Something like this is closer to reality now, than it probably ever was in modern history. It’s obviously a fake page, and yet some among us don’t see it as satire. Have we failed as a society?