Unwitting Realtor gave burglars a home security code.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Global Property Systems Real Estate DOS NYS #10491202606


burglarI don't know how Realtors do things in Colorado, but we certainly do them differently here in Rockland County, NY. Police in Pueblo, Colorado are still looking for two slick burglars who conned a Realtor into telling them the entry code to a house that was for sale. The Realtor gave the burglars the security code when one of the two contacted the agent by phone pretending to be a fellow Realtor with a buyer interested in seeing the property. For some reason, the Realtor told them the entry door's security code over the phone (Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, apparently. Why would you trust that kind of information to someone you don't know, and who's only a voice on the phone?)

The burglars then entered the house and helped themselves to checks, cash, jewelery and electronics. Afterward, surveillance cameras at a local Safeway Supermarket spotted a couple trying to cash one of the stolen checks. The Pueblo P.D. is still investigating. (Click the photo at left for a larger image of the alleged perps.)

Security is extremely important when listing a home. Homeowners must be able to  trust that their realtor won't put their property at risk. The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service which regulates real estate activities in Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties uses electronic lock boxes which hang on door knobs holding the door keys. All licensed Realtors have their own electronic keys to open the lock boxes, and the box records the date, time and identity of everyone using it. It's a handy way to let Realtors in and keep burglars out.

Previously posted at "Unwitting Realtor gave burglars a home security code."

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Joe Jackson 10/25/2012 01:00 AM

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Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

I can't even ask questions about my electric bill over the telephone without providing the representative with my full name, address, phone number and last four digits of my social security number! 

Oct 25, 2012 12:46 AM #16
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Why don't we just give every crook a key box code or supra key?

Oct 25, 2012 12:59 AM #17
Michael Blue
Home Smart Realty West - Encinitas, CA
REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad
Well that's sad! We must have the same system for lockboxes as you and as a non-realtor without a electronic key, they would not have even gotten into the home to disarm the alarm. I will admit I have been in the business for many many years and if an agent calls me that I know I can give information to them and would give the code, But not to any voice on the phone especially with a combo lockbox.
Oct 25, 2012 01:04 AM #18
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

That is horrible!  When agents here call to schedule showings some agents request the agents license number and other information and verify the agent is indeed a licensed agent prior to giving out the code.  On the other hand some agents just immediately give out the code without even bothering to find out what company you work for.  I prefer Supra boxes whenever possible - they are of coure much more expensive than combo boxes but well worth it!

Oct 25, 2012 01:11 AM #19
Randy Harden MBA
CENTURY 21 Wieder Realty - Pompano Beach, FL

Thanks for this reminder that security needs to be on the top of our minds at all times. I often see Realtors put the property address on their listing keys, which I think is a huge mistake. It might not be you who accidentally drops those keys getting out of your car, but it will be you who has to explain to the owner and the police why their house was buglarized.

Oct 25, 2012 02:11 AM #20
David Grbich
Realty One Group - www.FindCARealEstate.com - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484

Thanks for sharing - I still see combination code boxes in use and this can easily happen. Listing agents should only use the electronic boxes and track who goes in and out. Regards Dave

Oct 25, 2012 02:23 AM #21
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Looks like somebody probably lost a listing.  Everybody, please be careful out there as it puts a stain on all of us, makes all our jobs more difficult, don't let the crooks win!

Oct 25, 2012 02:37 AM #22
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I would never give an access to code to someone unless I verified they were an agent and even then, I'd wonder why they weren't getting the code from the MLS private notes (which is where they usually are).

Oct 25, 2012 02:39 AM #23
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

I always make whoever is calling, asking for the lockbox to give me their name and agent ID number, to verify they are actually a Realtor.  Listing agents should be much more vigilant, especially if the house is still occupied.  

Oct 25, 2012 02:40 AM #24
Jon Karlen
Finish Line Realty - Shelbyville & Louisville Ky Real Estate - Shelbyville, KY
Louisville & Shelbyville Kentucky real estate

Seeing more and more stories like this. Have to be careful nowadays that you don't make a mistake.  (A good first step would be to do some more verification and/or getting a lockbox from the board.)

Oct 25, 2012 03:57 AM #25
Shane Barker
Amerifirst Financial, INC. - Salt Lake City, UT

Wow, that is pretty crazy that they could be so careless, as you said, and give out the info to complete strangers on the phone.  This is one of those things that help keep everyone on their toes!

Oct 25, 2012 04:07 AM #26
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

You can't fix Stupid no matter what it takes to get a license for anything unless they are teaching common sense. 

I wonder if the agent that gave out the code over the phone for an occupied home would have done the same thing if it was their home?

Probably not..


Oct 25, 2012 06:09 AM #27
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Insanity. I have often wondered why some agents still use the combo boxes. I get that they have been in the business and have them, but it doesn't seem like a good deal for their listing customers. 

Oct 25, 2012 06:23 AM #28
Spectrum Inspection Group
Spectrum Inspection Group - Las Vegas, NV

I really lilke Gail's idea!  Many agents here will put combo box codes and alarm codes right in the MLS.  I know it's only supposed to be viewed by agents but I don't trust it!

Oct 25, 2012 08:06 AM #29
Jack Snyder
Loan Officer in Orange County for Omni-Fund Inc. - San Clemente, CA
Loan Officer, San Clemente, Orange County, Califor

Unfortunate for the agent with mud on their face.


That's a lesson best learned from someone elses error, thanks for posting it.



Oct 25, 2012 08:07 AM #30
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


What an awful thing to happen.  Imagine the realtor is very upset that she so easily was convinced to give up the security code.

Oct 25, 2012 10:38 AM #31
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

That's very unfortunate.  While we can all feel superior to this poor agent because we know better, this is an unfortunate event for our industry.  The theives can outwit any of us.    

Oct 25, 2012 01:31 PM #32
Michael Clarkson
Snow Coast Real Estate - Littleton, CO

I don't practice in Pueblo, though I have good friends that do. However, let me share some insights which are not meant to "forgive or apologize" the people that did that...but this perspective is important.

Pueblo is an unusual market.  Pueblo itself is about 120,000 people and there is essentially Pueblo and Pueblo West.  Then there is country...and I don't mean the bucolic rolling hills with burgs of 5,000-20,000 dotting the countryside like in NY.  Essentially, you go from 120,000 to towns in the hundreds of people...with 50-100 miles between them. 

Just for example, Colorado has about 5.1m people.  3.1m live in the Denver Metro Area.  About 700k more live in and around Colorado Springs (about 30 miles south of Denver suburbs is where the suburbs of Colorado Springs begins). Another 600k live in Larimer/Weld County (Ft. Collins/Greeley), which is essentially another suburb of Denver, too.  That leaves about 700k more people scattered around the rest of the 8th largest state in the country, of which 160k live in the Pueblo MSA...120k in Pueblo proper and 40k in the surrounding counties.   So, Pueblo has the challenge of being a mix of a rural - not Eastern rural - but Western rural, and a moderate sized city.  

I understand that electronic lockboxes are standard down there to the best of my knowledge in Pueblo; however, listings can be literally 50 miles away. Those are not on Supra boxes, I suspect. 

There are two RE/MAX's down there (three, I think owned by two different companies), then literally dozens of mom and pops.  There is no longer a Coldwell Banker there, as I understand. So, while the big guys use Supra boxes, mom and pops may not. Also, most of the big firms are on Centralized Showings, which vets out brokers (we use them in Denver).  

So, I suspect this is a case of a mom and pop likely with a rotate dial box (likely leaving it on the default setting).  In short, I suspect this is a situation where a broker did NOT give the code out, but someone targeting a home with unchanged lockbox on it.

If you happen to have the specific information, please let me know.  I suspect the story is more: burglars get access to lockbox (but not by Realtor, but by unchanged lockbox).  Let me know if I am wrong.

If it was a broker that released the information, they were wrong and will be held accountable by our Real Estate Commission.  However, I suspect this is a situation of laziness and not stupidity -- not that either is acceptable.


ADDITIONAL NOTE: I did find the Fox21 story and it appears that a Realtor did give it out.  However, my point is still largely valid.  A lot of folks on non-Supra boxes likely don't pay for Centralized Showings...thus are likely being as informal as those mom and pops tend to be.

Oct 25, 2012 01:59 PM #33
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Vanessa - This is part of the reason that the electronic boxes are so important.

Oct 25, 2012 03:31 PM #34
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I won't even enter an occupied home even if I have the box code or a one day code to do a Home Inspection unless the agent or seller agent are present. Too easy to say SLS Home Inspections knocked Grandma's urn of ashes off the mantle. Not me. No how no way.

Oct 26, 2012 09:17 PM #35
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