Realtor Magazine has the story of two agents who were held at gunpoint by a man during showings in St. Petersburg, Florida within an hour of one another.
The suspect is still at large but police have images of a person of interest.
In one incident, the real estate agent says she was showing a home to a man who was wearing a straw hat when he pulled out a handgun and then bound her with zip ties. The man called the agent's husband and demanded a ransom, police say. He then left the house and, shortly after, reportedly pointed a gun at another real estate agent, whom he also then robbed.Sponsor Content
"Neither one of them was injured, although they were pretty shaken up, as you can imagine," says St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.
The man "has been calling REALTORS® asking to see properties,'' a bulletin from the Pinellas REALTORS®' organization read. The man has used the name "Robert Evans" and the bulletin also lists a phone number he has called from. Police are asking for real estate professionals' assistance in catching the man, saying in their alerts that if any agent is contacted by "Robert Evans" or the phone number provided to arrange a meeting with him and then contact the police department immediately. The bulletin warns: "DO NOT GO TO THE PROPERTY THAT HE IS REQUESTING TO SEE.''
Since that story, police have released video footage of a person of interest in the case.
The video, captured at a retail store, shows a man, mostly bald, with a medium build and a mustache walking through the store and then leaving with a bag in hand. He wore a long-sleeve white dress shirt and gray slacks.
Here is the photo.
(Source: Tamba Bay Times)
He said investigators believe that the man lives locally and that the video was shot a few weeks ago. He declined to say what detectives think is in the bag the man is carrying, but said the contents are part of the investigation.
On Wednesday, a 59-year-old agent with Hofacker & Associates said she went to a house for sale in the Tyrone area after a man called that morning about the listing. When she arrived around noon, he was already there and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She gave him a "quick little tour," she told the Times, and they chatted about the kitchen.
All of a sudden he told her, "Sorry about this," and jammed a gun in her face. He handcuffed her and bound her ankles, then called her husband to demand a ransom. The woman's husband thought the call was a prank and hung up — twice. After the third call, the robber gave up, leaving with the woman's phone. She slipped out of her restraints and went to a nearby house for help.
Not long after, police said, he struck again, holding another female real estate agent at gunpoint on Oxford Drive. When he saw another Realtor and client pull up to that house, he quietly left.