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Cancer Researchers Death Reminds Us Of Dangers Of Showing Real Estate

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:28 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Dangerous Jobs, Personal Safety, Real Estate Safety Council, Robbery

Woman killed while showing her condo highlights the dangers

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IMAGE SOURCE:  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Web page, image of Jeanne Calle

 

Most of the negative news surrounding real estate these days has to do with dropping values.

But this story about the death of an Atlanta area cancer researcher reminds us how vulnerable a person is to attack when they are showing real estate. 

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that 22-year-old Jamal Thompson was arrested Thursday for killing Eugenia “Jeanne” Calle in her luxury Atlanta midtown condo. 

Thompson had arranged with a real estate agent to view two condos inside the Aqua complex Tuesday. 

Calle overheard their conversation and said to the agent, “Don’t forget about mine. It’s for sale also.”

Calle, 57, was engaged to be married and had put her home on the market.  The 20-floor condo has units that range from $300,000 to $2 million.

The paper reports that after Thompson toured the lower two condos which were empty, then someone called Calle and said Thompson would like to see her 20-th floor home.

“Would you like for me to escort him up?  police say someone in the building asked her. 

“No, it’ll be fine,” Calle responded, according to AJC. “I don’t want him to think that we don’t trust him.”

Up in the condo police say Thompson hit Calle on the back of her head, took her diamond ring, some cash and credit cards.  Calle died from blunt force trauma.  Her fiancé, a tax attorney found her body later that night. 

Police believe Thompson tried to case the first two condos for valuables, but when he saw they were vacant went onto the third. 

Thompson used his own cell phone to set up the visits and police traced the calls, even though he had used a fake name with the real estate agent. 

He even returned to the condo building Wednesday, allegedly to steal more property, but was turned away at the door.  

Thompson had been using Calle’s credit cards in the Atlanta area, police say, purchasing clothing, and a $400 watch, among other items. He gave her ring to a woman he liked. 

He is charged with murder and robbery by force.

Thompson had a previous arrest record for burglary. Under another name, his arrest record goes back to high school in 2005.

Jeanne Calle was reported to be a renowned epidemiologist whose  work established a link between cancer, diet and obesity.   

Real Estate Attacks

Attacks against real estate agents and persons trying to sell their homes are not uncommon.

The Real Estate Safety Council reports 200 agents have been killed on the job by people posing as buyers over the last 20 years.  

Last year, a Las Vegas area real estate agent was attacked in a vacant home. She was injured to the point of needing brain surgery.  The man had broken into the home and was there when she entered.

In central Ohio in March 2008, a real estate agent was attacked during an open house by a man who posed as a potential buyer. 

Elaine Reese has this blog about the concerns of agents.

On it is a story by Inside Edition which contains valuable information for anyone who is allowing their home to be seen by non pre-qualified buyers.

In it, Linda Tedesco, a central Florida agent received a call from a man  to see a property near Daytona Beach.  She didn’t think he looked like he could afford the house, but decided she wasn’t going to lose a big sale. She found herself cornered in a walk-in closet. Her jewelry was stolen. Later, her attacked was convicted of kidnapping and robbery charges.  

“Listen to your intuition,” says security consultant Robert Siciliano. He tells Inside Edition, “If your intuition is jumping up and down and saying something doesn’t seem right about that situation, respond to that feeling and acknowledge it and don’t put dollar signs in front of security.”

Safety Tips

  • Never follow a client into a tight space such as a closet or bathroom
  • Never turn your back on someone
  • Meet the prospective buyer in a neutral or public place or your office before showing the home
  • Make sure you introduce the person to others, no one wants to know there are people who can identify them
  •  Have someone with you
  • Take a cell phone along
  • If you scream “Fire” you are more likely to get attention than screaming “Help”
  • Learn how to disable someone during an attack so you can get away #  

4 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by jp
Thursday, February 19, 2009 10:56 PM EST

wow, i can't believe that actually happens often.

Posted by Robert Siciliano
Friday, February 20, 2009 10:22 AM EST

Great article!
Robert Siciliano
LINK

Posted by Robert Siciliano
Sunday, February 22, 2009 3:33 PM EST

Good article to remind us, but very sad situation that can be avoided if proper precautions are taken. Trusting someone you dont know, then being put into an isolated situation is not safe. There are to many people who fall victim in the same circumstances.

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, February 23, 2009 1:34 PM EST

For anyone who knows- what happened to the concept of pre-qualifying a buyer BEFORE they see the property? Not only would it keep residents safer, but would save wasted time spent with someone who is looking beyond their means.

Regardless, no matter how much you want/ need to tell your property - never let your guard down!

Comments for this article are closed.

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