Realtor robbed during fake appointment

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Spokane

Another crazy story for us to highten the awareness and hopefully prevent things like this from happening in the future...

LAKELAND -- Walking through an unlocked door, the victim thought the man already inside was a legit customer.

But within minutes, the client she had talked to on the phone hours before revealed he was part of a dangerous duo.

"She had been tied up and had a knife to her throat," said Bethany Barlow, the victim's daughter.

Barlow told us the attack came as soon as her mother turned her back.  She says the two men threatened the realtor's life, then tied her up and locked her in the laundry room of the home on South Boulevard Tuesday afternoon.

After waiting for her attackers to leave, the victim escaped through the back door.

"They're dangerous people," said Ryan Barlow, the victim's son.  "No matter what they looked like or what they used, they were definitely threatening.  They need to be caught."

Lakeland Police are now tracking the bad guys by tracking the times they've tried to use credit cards they stole from the victim.  Investigators are now warning other realtors to be wary of supposed clients who could be crooks.

"They should let people in their offices know when they go on calls, it's better to be safe than be sorry," Lakeland Police spokesperson Jack Gillen said.

It's a crazy world out there.....be careful friends!!

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Thats terrible!  Thanks for the warning.
Apr 10, 2008 02:15 AM #1
Rainer
11,208
Donna Henry
Keller Williams Realty Spokane - Spokane, WA
It so is....you hate to be paranoid when going on showings but these stories naturally create that underlyng feeling, be careful!
Apr 10, 2008 02:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
362,135
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Thank you for the nudge.  

  

Apr 10, 2008 02:46 AM #3
Rainmaker
996,769
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate
Donna:  Thank goodness that was all that happened.  It really is not paranoia... it is the simple realization that not everyone in the world comes from a place of "goodness."  Even in the past... it was never a good idea to meet a client you had never met before... especially when a female Realtor is meeting a man at some "remote" place.  Thanks so much for sharing, and for bringing happenings like this back to our awareness.
Apr 10, 2008 02:47 AM #4
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Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Fairbanks Alaska Real Estate Specialists, 907-328-9328
I'm with Karen - Thank God that all they did was rob her.  That could have turned out much, much worse.  It's just another example of how we all need to better protect ourselves when we're in the field.  An ounce of prevention...
Apr 10, 2008 03:45 AM #5
Rainmaker
652,773
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
We all can't be careful enough. You just never know when something like this might happen.
Apr 10, 2008 04:22 AM #6
Rainer
56,130
Laura Karambelas
Baird & Warner Downers Grove - Downers Grove, IL
Realtor - Downers Grove
This is another story that is becoming all too familiar.  We all need to make sure we are aware of our surroundings at all times!  Thank God the agent is OK.
Apr 10, 2008 04:30 AM #7
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Julie Chapman
Lennar - Jacksonville, FL
New Homes Sales
As a broker with an agent who was tied up and robbed, I will write what I wrote to every agent in our mls.  There is no money worth dying for and it can happen to anyone. This can happen to anyone - male or female.......... Follow the safety rules and if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your friends and family and your broker.......
Apr 10, 2008 05:03 AM #8
Rainmaker
630,071
Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes

Thank God the agent is ok!  I agree with Laura it is becoming an all too familiar topic.  Let's focus on our personal safety everyday.  Thank you for the alert.

Don R.

Apr 10, 2008 05:06 AM #9
Rainer
28,055
Chip Jefferson
Advanced Building LLC - Lexington, SC
Pack some heat with you..
Apr 10, 2008 05:44 AM #10
Rainmaker
118,340
DDR Realty
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
Orange County NY
Safety is an concern that we need to be very mindful of. I share Don's thoughts. Thank God the agent was not seriously hurt or murdered.
Apr 10, 2008 06:03 AM #11
Anonymous
Anonymous
Consumer

When will RE agents learn?

I am sorry that this agent had a scary dangerous experience, but shame on her for meeting the client stranger at the property without an office visit first.

Apr 10, 2008 07:10 AM #12
Rainmaker
894,712
Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Safety must be our utmost concern in today's day and age. Here are some recommendations:

  • Never, never meet anyone at a property.
  • Always have them come into the office and ask to make a copy of their drivers license.
  • Leave the copy of their drivers license at the front desk and tell the Duty Agent where you are going.
  • Have a code word system set up in your office. If you feel you are in an uncomfortable situation make an excuse to call your office and give the code word. This will tell the Duty Agent to immediately call 911.
  • Carry pepper spray with you.
  • Take a self defense course for real estate agents.

Good Post, Keep Safe!

Apr 10, 2008 08:53 AM #13
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital
Yikes!  We should really take the advice to never, ever meet anyone you don't know at a house, unless you have an armed bodyguard!  I have Thomas, the office hunk with rippling muscles and a "don't mess with me" attitude if I have any doubt about a client - and that would be after meeting the client!
Apr 10, 2008 10:02 AM #14
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital
Yikes!  We should really take the advice to never, ever meet anyone you don't know at a house, unless you have an armed bodyguard!  I have Thomas, the office hunk with rippling muscles and a "don't mess with me" attitude if I have any doubt about a client - and that would be after meeting the client!
Apr 10, 2008 10:03 AM #15
Rainer
11,208
Donna Henry
Keller Williams Realty Spokane - Spokane, WA
I need a Thomas the hunk to bring with me now too!  thanks for all of your great comments!  I think awareness and prevention are the key to combatting these creeps!
Apr 10, 2008 03:55 PM #16
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