Friday, July 22, 2011

Open house thiefs

Got this email today; this is sad but has happened to all of us:

"Please be aware that there may be an individual or small group targeting open houses for valuables or checks. I have a client in Studio City that had a checkbook stolen during an open house that has resulted in thousands of dollars potentially lost by writing checks in CA and MN over the past week. As careful as we are during open houses, this is something to watch out for, especially if there are a number of people in a group. FYI, in this case we believe it to be a group of 3 women and the "main" client represented herself as "Michelle" who said she was an asst to a celeb previewing properties. Please pass this on to other agents you know so we can all keep an eye out."

I like to think my intuition is great and I can spot people who are up to no good.  (I'm always suspicious of teenagers in groups.)  But when this happened at a listing of mine six years ago, it was two adult men who pulled up in an expensive car just before we closed.  Another time, it was an eight-year-old girl who pocketed an iPod during a regular showing (she and her parents returned it). Most of us agents always caution our seller clients to remove money, jewelry and small collectibles from the property they're selling because we just can't be everywhere at once.  I also warn my clients not to hide their valuables in obvious places, such as top dresser drawers.

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