Friday, November 7, 2014 (Updated): We have been informed that the second male suspect was arrested yesterday morning. Both suspects are facing multiple felony counts and should be locked-up for a while. The Troy Police Department will be sending out a press release on this sometime in the next day or so. They believe the arrest of the two main suspects will have a significant impact on the reduction of thefts during open houses. The police also said these arrests were truly a team effort among REALTORS® and several law enforcement agencies. In fact, one of their most significant leads came from an alert agent who recognized the suspect and captured his cell number.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 (Updated): The suspect (the taller, slender male) thought to be the ring leader of the open house thefts was arrested on Thursday of last week. He has confessed to being involved in thefts that have taken place in 15 communities since June. He is being held on a $100k bond. So far, he is the only suspect that has been arrested and held in connection with these thefts. Please continue to take all necessary safety precautions when holding open houses, broker tours, and showing properties.
Please be sure to review our Safety Tips for REALTORS®.
Since June of this year, OPEN HOUSE ROBBERIES have taken place all over Southeast Michigan. The investigation into these crimes is still ongoing.
** Sensitive Information: See SPECIAL RELEASE from Troy Police Department with Surveillance Photos of Two Men **
Three (3) attempts were made at different open houses in Troy the weekend of 9/28/2014-9/29/2014. Two (2) of these attempts were thwarted by agents. However, a third was successfully robbed.
Here are physical descriptions of the suspects involved in these incidents:
- Two (2) African-American females, both described as being between 5’-7” to 5’-9" tall and heavy set with dark complexions.
- One female had short shaved hair.
- The other female was described as having short fuzzy hair.
- Two (2) African-American men
- One man described as being approx. 5'8" to 6' tall, clean shaven, short hair, & no noticeable tattoos or earrings.
- The other man was shorter, had very short hair, a full beard and mustache.
- Both were dressed casually.
Their Methods of Operation:
- Most recently, the two women and the taller man worked the open houses in Troy.
- At times, the two men have worked the open houses together (in Novi, Milford, and Canton). They have told agents they were looking for a house for their Dad. Other times they said they were looking for their Mom.
- They have stayed at one open house for approx. 45 minutes and seemed very interested in the home. At one point, they event started to video-record parts of the house with their camera phones but were asked to stop. They provided this contact number at one open house: 248.919.0101 (which is disconnected).
- The men are wanted in connection with numerous felonies.
- One of our agents reported that at her open house, one man entered the open house first. When there wasn't enough traffic to adequately distract her, the other man joined the first one to accomplish this.
- Typically, in distracting female agents, the thieves will go for money and credit card(s) in their wallets. They don't take the purses or the wallets as to avoid drawing attention to the crime.
- They have also broken into cars at the open houses to get to purses that are locked inside.
- They have also stolen valuables (i.e. jewelry and other valuables) from the home owners.
- At times, they have been seen driving a black Jeep Cherokee. Most recently, they were seen in a dark color sedan. However, police know the suspects have been using several different vehicles during their crime spree.
Suggestions from Police:
1) Please obtain whatever suspect/vehicle descriptions you can and immediately call the local law enforcement agency. DO NOT CONFRONT THESE INDIVIDUALS ON YOUR OWN.
2) If planning to hold an open house, you may want to acquaint yourself with others being held in the same area. Ideally, if you can, alert other listing agents to obtain suspect descriptions and/or notify local law enforcement.
3) Always talk with home owners about locking away all valuables before your open house begins.
4) Lock your purses and/or other valuables away before the open house begins. If locking your purse away in your car, hide it or cover it up so it's not visible to passersby.
5) Buddy up with an associate (if possible) when holding an open house -- there is safety in numbers.
Please be sure to take all necessary precautions when holding open houses and showing properties. Also, don't hesitate to contact the police for help any time you believe you need them.