NOVATO (KPIX) — Working from his home in Novato, Bob Innes built a website in 2005 to promote an information-technology company providing security analysis and hacking prevention.
He called it Rent-a-Hitman (rentahitman.com). You might be able to guess what happened next.
That’s right. Instead of requests for IT services, users from around the world sent in serious queries about contract killings.
“The e-mails threw me for a loop. It was absolutely not expected,” Innes remembers.
The requests keep coming, Innes says. He pulled up a message from a self-described 14-year-old boy in Alaska.
“(It) says, ‘kill my mom and my dad, my sister and my brother,'” Innes said, reading from the screen.
Since 2005, Innes says he has broken up almost a hundred murder-for-hire plots and, though he doesn’t make any money from it, he keeps operating Rent-a-Hitman as a personal mission to help save lives.
Innes has given up on the site’s original purpose and has turned it into what should be an obvious parody, complete with an intake form that asks users to input their target’s name, address and e-mail.
He now gets requests for a hit man a couple times a week.
Innes says he waits about a day to respond then, if he receives a reply asking for a “field operative,” Innes reports the communication to the police.
A number of cases which started with a tip from Innes have been prosecuted, including a woman from the UK who wanted her mother, aunt and uncle killed and a 20-year-old-man from Virginia who wanted three people killed and his infant kidnapped.
“As ridiculous as (the site) is, it has led to the apprehension of some bad people and ultimately saved the lives of several people,” Innes claims.
Innes says reading the disturbing requests is taking a toll and he now wants to turn the website over to law enforcement to run.