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Richmond VA Area Realtor Caught on Camera Stealing Medication

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA

This scenario seems to happen too often in this business, but it's most likely a very small % of agents that steal from people's houses. But everytime it does happen, both agents and homeowners can learn from these crimes. In this case, I thought it was strange that a buyers agent showed up ahead of buyers and began going through the house. I have my doubts that this agent was really even suppose to be meeting a potential buyer. Are some agents so desperate that they need to steal prescription meds? The owners report that they installed 4 cameras because a pair of ear rings went missing after an Open House. Would this agent have gotten caught without the camera? Maybe, but doubtful. If the owner knew they had just put the medication in the closet, came home later and went to use it, and found it missing. If there was an electronic lockbox, and the agent used it to access the house, they would at least have a list of which agents entered their house while they were out. That is one benefit of using electronic key boxes. However, the agent could deny it, and say maybe one of the buyers could have grabbed it while she wasn't looking.

 But the camera doesn't lie, and makes it harder for thieves to get away with stealing. Just about everything is captured on film these days. I suppose every state has guidelines about when a person has to disclose cameras are in use. But inside a persons home, I would think anyone has the right to install cameras. It is also believed, that every agent should just assume they are being filmed and/or recorded while inside someones home. People have baby monitors, pet monitors, live stream where they can watch their home from their office computer miles away, etc.

 I suppose this agent will be looking for another way to earn a living after this. I'm betting this isn't the first time she has taken something from someones home.

 So what can agents and homeowners learn from this? ( HOMEOWNERS) - (1) Use electronic key box as main key holder (2) If you prefer a combo, use it as a back-up only and consider placing it on back door (3) Lock up valuables and prescription meds or keep them hidden. And not just for Open Houses, but the entire time your house is on the market. (4) Consider installing cameras to monitor who is inside your home. (5) If you are not required to disclose your property is monitored by cameras, don't. Don't even tell your listing agent or your kids that you are using cameras. (6) Require all agents to use the lockbox so you have a record of agent, and when they entered your house. Agents should never pass the key off to another agent that has shown up to show house. Each agent should return the key to lockbox and close it, and the next agent will have to use their access card to remove it.

(AGENTS) - (1) I think most of us assume we are being filmed and/or recorded. (2) Always return key to lock box after a showing (3) If we see something valuable, or see prescription meds sitting in plain view, report it to the listing agent. (4) Don't show up too long ahead of buyers. 10 minutes or so to turn on some lights is probably fine, but 20-30 minutes ahead of buyers might look suspicous? The agent in this video appeared to be scoping out the house to make sure no one was there before she stole the medication.

 

http://wtvr.com/2015/01/20/richmond-realtor-arrested-after-family-records-her-allegedly-stealing-meds/

 

cuffs

Jeff Pearl | Lic in VA

Remax Distinctive | McLean VA

703-727-4876

Homes | Land | Farms | Historic

www.jeffpearlhomes.com

Equal Housing

Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#19- Hi Mike, yes, eventually most thieves get caught. Dishonest agents have no business dealing with the public. That was a smart move to leave to avoid any potential accusations. I think i might have done the same thing.

Jan 22, 2015 06:03 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

We hold open houses, the video online on demand kind. Everything stays put. hope public does not over-react to this public facing blog post. We control our own public relations.

Jan 22, 2015 06:14 AM
Kristin Walter
Mountain Dream Real Estate, LLC - Breckenridge, CO

I'm glad you wrote about this. When I saw it on Good Morning America this morning, my first question on their reporting was whether the agent was a Realtor? Realtors hold themselves to such a high standard of ethics, and it would surprise me if she really belonged to our organization. 

Now it is on the top of my mind, and I will do anything and everything it takes to assure my clients (and listing agents) that I am trustworthy.   

Jan 22, 2015 06:31 AM
Marla Yost
The Yost Team- Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, TX
The Yost Team

Wow ....She needs to lose her license.

Never had it to happen but I always tell me sellers to take valubles and meds and put them in a safe place. Out of sight !

Jan 22, 2015 07:19 AM
Jim Beitz
Keller Williams Success Realty - East Layton, UT

Are agents so desperate?  I'd say addicts and addicts come in all shapes and sizes, professions and socio-economic status.  It's made more unfortunate because this reflects on each of us.

 

Jim

Jan 22, 2015 07:20 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#21- Hi Andrew, I doubt if public overreacts, but maybe they will make more effort to secure their valuables. This happens more than once per year.

#22- Hi Kristin, I think it's good for agents and homesellers to keep security of thier homes and belongings on top of their mind while their house is on market. Thanks.

#23- Hi Marla, I'm sure she has realized by now that it wasn't worth it. hopefully she'll get whatever help she needs.

#24- Hi Jim, Yes, addicts rarely think clearly, and stealing just goes with the territory.

Jan 22, 2015 08:42 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

There's much to learn from this story, Jeff Pearl ... on both a professional's side ... and a Seller's too.  I've read many articles on this growing problem of medications being stolen.  This is the first where it was a Realtor doing the stealing though.  Very sad ...

Gene

Jan 22, 2015 10:12 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I always make sure I have this talk with sellers.  They seem to find no problem complying.

Jan 22, 2015 11:19 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I too advise my clients to put things up.  This should not ever happen, and yet it did.  And does.

Jan 22, 2015 11:35 AM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Sad? Stupid? Not sure which. Amazing? So very much.

While I sure do suggest to my sellers that the home is "cleaned" of items, it's rather problematic to get medications out of a home.

And while this is only 1 realtor in Richmond, you can bet this story will he heard far & wide and remembered.

I've got a great joke to close with, but it's inappropriate to take the sting out of this.  The sting should stay so that everyone understands what can happen.

Jan 22, 2015 12:14 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Once such incident, is one too many and hurts our reputation. Although I will say that fortunately it happens very rarely. I have my seller clients sign a document called "Securing Valuables Disclosure." It states that I have informed them that they should lock up and put away valuables, firearms, medicines, etc.

Jan 22, 2015 08:29 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#26- Hi Gene, Yes, many can learn from this. hopefully sellers will take hiding valuables more seriously.

#27- Hi Joan, hopefully more sellers will get the message.

#28- Hi Evelyn, everyone needs to take precautions. It's not hard to hide valuables and meds.

#29- Hi Claude, both sad and stupid. Hopefully these incidents will be few and far between.

#30- Hi Nina, Yes, it is bad for reputations. How much business that agents office will lose may never be known.

Jan 22, 2015 08:56 PM
Youree Lundy
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty - Orlando, FL
Your Realtor For Life

The list at the end of the presentation:  Hide or lock up guns, medications, small electronics including laptops IPods IPads, checkbooks, anything with a social security number, passports, jewelry, collectables, irreplaceable memorabilia, and all of the information on the children in the home.  Clients do not always think of the many was that a thief does, so it is important that we warn them so that they minimize the chance of becoming a victim.  It is not perfect, but it really helps in the long run.

Jan 22, 2015 10:10 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#32- Hi Youree, yes, if we could only get every seller to actually do those things, it would really cut down on thefts.

Jan 22, 2015 10:43 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Jeff Pearl now this is something not acceptable! (Just read another similar post!)

Good tips for sellers and agents. (I remember one home which I showed to my buyers had video monitors....)

Jan 23, 2015 01:43 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#34- Hi Praful, exactly. video technology today makes it very easy for homeowners to monitor their property. Thanks.

Jan 23, 2015 07:02 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this sad story.

Jan 23, 2015 09:51 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jeff, we are seeing more and more sellers using surveillance camera.  And we have been cautioned that the use of video cameras is OK, but video is not.

And please!  There are sociopaths who pay dues to the NAR, and I seriously doubt that our Code of Ethics would keep any of them from mischief.

Jan 24, 2015 07:42 AM
Julie A. Black
KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist - Kapaa, HI
CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker

Wow I guess there are Tweakers in all professions.

Jan 24, 2015 09:27 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

#36- Hi Roy, I think homeowners need to do more thorough job of screening agents these days. Thanks.

#37- Hi Patricia, I'm seeing that as well. Public trust has suffered due to theft from houses. I agree, COE doesn't seem to mean much to a lot of agents. Thanks

#38- Hi Julie, I guess. Bad publicity like this can actually help sellers to take more precautions with their valuables.

Jan 24, 2015 09:47 PM