Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kicking Them When They Are Down

Late last year, I wrote about a co-worker of mine who jumped on the real estate bandwagon and bought a house and rented it for negative cashflow, assuming it would eventually go up in value. Of course, the market crashed and he lost the house. He managed to sell it for a loss, but unfortunately, the losses were too great and he ended up getting behind on the mortgage payments for his residence too. That went into foreclosure and the auction date was last week. He had started to move out, but he had to have some major surgery and went into the hospital before he got the move completed.

He found out last weekend that his house was robbed. It appeared to be the work of professionals. They took everything that was of value and left stuff that wasn't - even to the extent of taking expensive paint sealant but not the cheap paint sitting right next to it. They tried taking some pool equipment, but that was too heavy. A neighbor actually saw the people doing it and spoke with them. I guess the people told her they were moving the rest of the stuff out per my co-worker's request. There were a couple items that the lady told them she thought they wanted to leave, so the thieves left those, but they must have had the woman fooled. She said they had a big truck to load everything and looked like movers. Since this took place either a day before the foreclosure auction or the day of, it would seem there are some con artists going through the public foreclosure records and cleaning places out right before auctions. It could just be a coincidence, but I don't think so.

Something to be aware of...


Erica Douglass said...

Wow, ouch. Hard to prevent this sort of thing, but it still stinks. Thanks for the post!


Another Investor said...

Theft is getting to be the number one industry in Phoenix. I had a new hose and nozzle stolen out of a back yard last fall and a ceiling fan in the box was taken out of a locked garage a couple of weeks ago. Both thefts occured in nice neighborhoods in Tempe. Over in Litchfield Park in another good area, I was looking at a foreclosure and some kids in a souped up beater stopped to ask me questions about the house. From the questions, they were trying to determine if the house was occupied. They cruised the entire street very slowly as they left, and the agent and I concluded they were looking for houses to break into.

Ground mounted air conditioners and kitchen appliances seem to be stolen a lot now. Someone even advertised on Craigslist that he would help homeowners in foreclosure remove "their" appliances and cabinets before the foreclosure sale.

The police do not seem to be doing anything to combat this theft plague. They should be working on block watches, stopping suspicious vehicles for cause, and patrolling more aggressively.

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