In a stark reminder of the danger that Realtors and real estate agents face as public figures whose personal information is easily accessible, a Louisiana man was arrested recently for cyberstalking several Realtors.
According to Alexandria, Louisiana’s The Town Talk, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office received a number of complaints from local Realtors, who said that a man sent them multiple “harassing, sexually explicit” text messages.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. From The Town Talk:
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office received complaints about threatening, graphic texts from multiple victims starting Nov. 30. The victims, all realtors, said the suspect was aware of their vocation and attempted to arrange an appointment to meet some of them in person.
The Town Talk report goes on to say that detectives were able to identify the suspect, and subsequently take Christopher Cory Ryan, 30, of Leesville, Louisiana, into custody.
Again from The Town Talk:
Detectives, working with members of the United States Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force, arrested Ryan at his residence. He was booked into the Vernon parish Detention Center, then transported to the Rapides parish Detention Center Thursday.
Authorities charged Ryan with seven counts of cyberstalking and seven counts of felony stalking. His bail was set at $140,000.
Realtor and real estate agent safety and the dangers they face were tragically brought to light last year with the death of Arkansas Realtor Beverly Carter, who was kidnapped while showing a home in Sep. 2014 and found dead several days later.
In the wake of Carter’s death, the National Association of Realtors launched an effort to inspire real estate agents to change their fundamental work practices and take a pledge to ensure safety.
Earlier this year, on the one-year anniversary of Carter’s death, NAR President Chris Polychron said that Realtors' and real estate agents' jobs place them in harm’s way.
“On the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Beverly Carter, we must recommit ourselves as an industry to the need for safety awareness and practices among real estate agents, colleagues and clients,” Polychron said in September.
“Unfortunately, like many other jobs that require interacting with the public, selling real estate involves some risk, but we must do everything possible to ensure that future tragedies are prevented,” Polychron added.
“One of the most important things Realtors can do to protect themselves is to always meet new clients in their office and introduce them to a co-worker,” Polychron continued. “Realtors should keep their phone charged and with them, make sure someone always knows their location, be careful with sharing personal information and always trust their instincts.”