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Prescription pills the target of 'open house' thefts


POSTED: Monday, August 25, 2014 - 5:45pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 25, 2014 - 5:53pm

As the housing market rises, homeowners are encouraged to take extra safety measures before hosting an open house, particularly when it comes to their prescription medications. Realtors network with each other and put on alert people who claim to be in the market for buying a house, but are really only visiting to steal.

Prescription pills are becoming a big target. Most homeowners know to hide jewelry, but prescription medication is just not something someone thinks about hiding. Thieves have been targeting homes that are listed “for sale by owner” because inexperienced sellers don’t always know the extra tricks to protecting their property.

Realtor Claudia Carroll spoke to KETK about the benefits of having a realtor. She says, "realtors know how to protect the overall safety and security of the home and its owners during open houses and other viewings." Claudia demonstrated to us how thieves looking for pills will come to open houses with a plan. They typically come acting as a couple and then split up, having one person distract the realtor while the other searches through medicine cabinets, cupboards, and drawers.

Claudia says homeowners without a realtor don’t think to put away prescription pills or only move them from one drawer to the next, instead of putting them in a place a buyer wouldn’t typically look. She says realtors also keep a list of suspicious people that have caused issues in the past and there have not been any instances, so far in Tyler with prescription pills missing from homes that host open houses, but with the influx of people moving to Texas from other countries, the potential is there.

Realtors typically require a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter before they show an interested buyer a home. Claudia says she would encourage any homeowner selling their home to have the same requirement before showing and would suggest they do private showings versus a public showing so they can keep better track of who is in their home.

Tyler Police told KETK that prescription pills can range in price depending on the medication. Some pills start at 5 dollars each and go up, so for dealers, open houses with prescription medications have potential for them to make money.

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