Thursday, April 15, 2010

Danger lurks for real estate agents

Lindsay Buziak, real estate agent murdered for no apparent reason

Bizarre Cases Highlight Dangers Facing Real Estate Agents
by Robert A. Waters

On December 3, 2007, Marilyn Foss, who works for Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Fe, New Mexico, met a prospective client in front of the local library. The woman wore a burka and claimed to be Nata Ramein, wife of a wealthy Lebanese oil man who wished to purchase a home in the area.

An article in the Santa Fe New Mexican described what happened next: “After meeting [in front of the library], Foss and the woman drove to Tesuque to see one property, then went to another property on Calle San Martin in Santa Fe. While in the basement of the second residence, Foss saw that the woman was holding a black handgun. Foss tried to fight off the woman, grabbing her hair and pulling out some strands, but the woman pinned her to the floor, put the barrel of the gun to her head, and threatened to kill her.”

Ramien, later identified as Sarah Ochoa, strapped a device that looked like a bomb to Foss and ordered the real estate agent to drive to her bank. Ochoa walked with Foss into the bank and forced her to withdraw $ 8,000 from her checking account. Foss then alerted bank officials to the robbery and Ochoa fled.

Three days later, she was captured.

Marilyn Foss was lucky to be alive. Many real estate agents have suffered a worse fate.

In July, 2006, Sarah Walker, an onsite agent for D. R. Horton, was showing a model home in McKinney, Texas. A man pretending to be a customer walked in and stabbed her 27 times. The assailant ripped the jewelry from her fingers as Walker lay on the floor dying. Kasoul Chanthakoumanne was later convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder.

Like many convenience store clerks, cab drivers, and others who work in service-oriented jobs, Walker was alone when she was attacked.

According to an article in Mortgage News Daily, few statistics are available on the number of real estate agents who have been murdered: “One source states that 206 agents were murdered on the job between 1982 and 2000. This does not even touch on the number of agents who were the victims of sexual assault, non-fatal shootings, beatings, and stabbings, robbery, and car-jacking.”

In another case that seems to defy logic, Lindsay Buziak was savagely murdered while showing a home just across the Canadian border in the District of Saanich, Victoria, British Columbia. Police have surmised that a cell phone was purchased and used for one purpose: to lure the realtor to a home so that she could be slaughtered. A man and a woman were part of the plot--each called Lindsay on that cell phone using foreign accents. After she met the male caller at the empty house, he stabbed Lindsay to death. The cell phone that had been used to call her had never been used before and was never used again. Police could not confirm a motive for the attack. Even though the family has offered a reward of $ 100,000, the case is still unsolved.

Her father, Jeff Buziak, described Lindsay as a person who had no enemies. “She was the most beautiful girl you could ever meet," he said. "I miss her so much. I love her so much. Lindsay was vibrant, full of life, loved by everybody. She had oodles of friends. She was so focused on her career. She thought it was the greatest thing. She was a tremendous young woman."


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Anonymous said...

Think Act Be Safe
Real Estate Agent Safety Program
Keep "Tabs" on on your fellow agent!

Never show ANY homes to someone not pre-qualified and identified.

Know WHO they are first, and have agents check-in during showings.

Would you meet a stranger from a phone call in an empty house alone?

You wouldn't do that in your personal life, DO NOT DO IT IN BUSINESS!

Download and use these documents to start the TABS Agent Safety Program in your office.

- Agent Safety Brochure
- Agent Identification Form
- Basic Client Information Form (BCI)
- Agent Itinerary Form
- Office Agent Safety Plan form

Download the TABS Program Documents:

Think - Act - Be - Safe

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