A fake homebuyer attacked a 69-year-old Manatee County real estate agent during a home showing. The agent was able to fend off the attack.
MANATEE COUNTY – August 12, 2015 – A fake homebuyer attacked a 69-year-old Manatee County real estate agent during a home showing. The agent was able to fend off the attack.
According to Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, the attack occurred Monday afternoon in the Whitfield Estates area of southern Manatee County.
"The victim is a Realtor showing a house to the suspect," the sheriff's office said in a media release issued after the attack. "During the showing, the suspect went into a bathroom of the house and flushed the toilet. The suspect then yelled to the victim that there was a leak in the bathroom."
Once the agent was inside the bathroom, the suspect "tried to force himself on her."
However, the assault stopped after the Realtor told the attacker that the home's owners were nearby and could return at any time. "After hearing this, the suspect fled the house," says the report.
The suspect is described as a white male, middle aged, about 6 feet tall, 250 pounds, balding or with receding hair. He was wearing camouflage shorts, a grey polo shirt with high socks and white sneakers, and called himself "Jim." He "reeked of cigarette smoke" and drove a dark-colored pick-up truck, according to the sheriff's office.
After the attack, Stafford Starcher, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, emailed an alert to members.
"Most of us have trouble imagining people in this world who can do such things," says 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton. "Unfortunately, we're wrong. Safety can never be a second thought in a profession that requires us to meet strangers in relatively obscure locations. It's not worth the risk."
Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.
© 2015 Florida Realtors® All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.