In 2005, Bob Innes acquired the RentAHitman.com domain without knowing he would eventually become a celebrated online vigilante. Initially intended as a platform for his IT enterprise, the website quickly drew individuals seeking contract killers, dramatically altering Bob’s life.
Eighteen years later, the site is acknowledged for contributing to numerous arrests and at least 12 convictions of individuals plotting the murder of friends, co-workers, and their offspring.
For Innes, sifting through hundreds of ‘applications’ each month and flagging plausible ones to the police has evolved into a full-time occupation. Recently, an 18-year-old Florida mother was arrested for attempting to contract a hit on her three-year-old daughter.
Despite the satirical website, it asserts compliance with the fictitious ‘Hitman Information Privacy & Protection Act of 1964’ and even offers discounts for older adults – potential conspirators continue to be lured in. A wannabe hitman, 21-year-old Josiah Garcia of the Air National Guard, was recently caught after responding to a job listing on the site’s ‘careers’ page.
The website’s homepage, under the alias Guido Fanelli, is laden with hints of its parody nature, including claims of data protection under the non-existent HIPPA act. The invented CEO, Fanelli, is said to hail from a family running Rent-A-Hitman since 1920.
Those gullible enough to take the website thoughtfully are guided to a ‘service request’ page to complete their application. Fake ‘reviews’ even rave about a ‘fast’ and ‘highly recommended service. Applicants are asked for personal details and preferred contact methods, including options such as postcards or ‘kites.’ Minors are warned about potential ‘delays’ without parental approval.
Details about the ‘intended target,’ such as age, relationship to the applicant, and social media accounts, are also requested. While some applications are pranks, roughly 150 per month are genuine, often featuring detailed target descriptions and twisted justifications for the intended killings.
Innes shared some haunting examples, such as a high school student seeking to kill his ex-girlfriend ‘in front of her boyfriend.’ Another request was reportedly from an abused child who wanted their entire family dead.
Upon deeming cases as legitimate, Innes always poses the same two questions: ‘Do you still require our services? Would you like me to place you in contact with a field operative?’ Affirmative responses led him to conduct further investigations using the provided information, such as social media searches.
Any approach that appears authentic is then forwarded to law enforcement.