Picture this: you’re a self-employed REALTOR (we all are self employed). You haven’t sold a home in a month and a potential buyer calls and wants to see your new listing you just put on the market. It’s kinda in the middle of nowhere, but you agree to meet this stranger at 8 PM in the dark. You show up and the stranger turns out to be a rapist, robber, murderer or all of the above. This happened to a local agent about twenty some odd years ago who worked at a real estate brokerage in Sugar House. This was pre-internet days when those free ‘homes’ magazines were out at every grocery store. In this woman’s story we learned (later) that the perpetrator profiled the agent by her photo that was published in the magazine and went to check out her listings to see which one was the most secluded, with the least amount of neighbors. He liked her looks and so called her, offered to pick her up at her office, and took her out there. She began to show him the home, walked down into the basement ahead of him and he then grabbed her and raped her. This sick f-k then drove her back to her office (located across from the Rape Recovery Center) but was soon tracked down by a helicopter/dogs in the canyon and arrested, convicted, and went to prison.
REALTORS drive nice cars and show nice homes and are victims of crime all over the United States. This unfortunate fact was brought back home this past week when three people allegedly killed a local real estate agent and hid his body in the crawl space of a home they were renting. The agent had gone to evict the tenants but sadly they decided to evict him off the planet. They supposedly cleaned up the property by pulling out the bloody carpet (but neglected to wipe the hardwood floors) and stole his car. It took two days for the police to find his body after he was reported missing.
My friend and fellow REALTOR, Dave Stokoe, worked for RanLife Real Estate in Sandy, Utah. He was a stand-up guy, who, despite being self-employed, was always in a cheery mood. He leaves behind a wife and four kids. Could he have prevented the attack? We don’t know the real details but we do know no one should ever lose their life over a property dispute. A vigil with hundreds of folks was held last Monday and a page has been set up to help his family with funeral expenses.
How safe is your work environment? In this day and age even walking to your car to go home can be scary. Dave didn’t get up the morning of January 17th and expect to die. Be careful out there folks and make sure you give a hug to the people you love every day…because one day your life will flash before your eyes and you better make sure it’s worth watching.