Company uses Craigslist to swindle local people searching for lost pets


by Chris Nagus / News 4 | @ChrisNagusKMOV

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 8:47 AM

(KMOV) – A News 4 investigation has exposed a company claiming to find missing pets for a fee after their owners sought help on Craigslist.

News 4’s Chris Nagus worked to find out who was behind a pet rescue organization that replied to a News 4 producer’s missing cat ad on Craigslist offering to help.

“They would get volunteers to search a 15-mile radius. All I would have to do is pay $120,” said Pavel Kofman.

Nagus posted a picture of his dog on Craigslist asking people if they had seen the pug. The same person who called Kofman contacted Nagus.

The guy claimed to be with The Pet Rescue and said they would find a pet in four days or give the customer's money back. News 4 put that to the test.

Viola Haegle of west St. Louis County lost her giant tortoise, Leo, so she called Pet Rescue and News 4 covered the cost of $130.

This time a man named, Maurizio Comelli answered the call saying, “we have 15,000 people covering all over the United States.”

The Pet Rescue posted a picture of Leo, but they never found him. News 4 requested a refund, but instead received an email stating the money would be paid back within four weeks.

That never happened and News 4’s Chris Nagus went to their listed headquarters in Las Vegas.

A woman answered the door to the home listed at the address and said Comelli is her dad and he lived in Brazil.

Nagus called Comelli and asked for proof that people were actually searching for Leo and other pets lost in St. Louis, to which he said someone would call him back. They never did.

He said it’s not a scam and there are a lot of people that need his help.