BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — In front of a federal courthouse in Boston on Wednesday, David and Ina Steiner described an experience out of a nightmare.
The Natick couple is suing the online shopping titan in federal court for what they call an organized campaign to "emotionally and psychologically torture" them into submission. The Steiners, the publishers of an e-commerce newsletter called EcommerceBytes, said the harassment started in 2019 after they published articles critical of the company.
Five of the six employees charged with cyberstalking and other crimes connected to the case have already pleaded guilty. Now, the Steiners have filed a civil lawsuit against the employees, Ebay's former CEO, and the company itself.
"We don't want to be the poster child for cyberstalking and corporate terrorism, but here we are," said Ina Steiner at the courthouse press conference.
In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the Steiners described a string of disturbing packages sent to their Natick home in the lawsuit, including a bloody pig mask, live cockroaches, and a book titled “Grief Diaries: Surviving Loss of a Spouse."
The couple said it didn't end there. The defendants allegedly flew to Boston from California to stalk the couple, attempting to put a GPS tracker on their car and following them around with a black van.
Ebay responded to the original indictments of its former employees last year, saying it "apologizes" and "is sorry" they were the subject of the campaign, and had conducted its own investigation and fired the employees. It sent an email apologizing to the couple.
But the Steiners and their lawyer said Ebay's response is not enough. "You can't threaten to kill reporters, and send an email, thinking that you're going to absolve yourself because you did your own investigation. That's not good enough," said attorney Rosemary Scapicchio.
The couple is looking for unspecified damages, including a provision that would hand over any money the defendants earn by book or movie deals about the incident to the Steiners.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports: