Thieves targeting homes for sale; wedding rings stolen at open house
YAKIMA, Wash.- Open houses allow dozens of people to enter your home, but some could be there for a different goal.
Open houses could make your home an easy target for people to steal your personal items. It happened to homeowner Jill Davison, who had put her home on the market last month after her husband recently passed away from cancer, and wanted to have a fresh start in Portland where her daughter lives.
Her transition took a turn for the worse during an open house event. The very next day Davison realized many of her most cherished belongings went missing.
Davison says the thieves also stole her mothers gold chain necklace, her daughters jewelry, and some of her husband's medication.
Those pieces of gold they stole were more than just a dollar sign to her, her husbands wedding band, and her grandma's wedding ring were all she had left of them.
"It's just things that I can never get back. I'm leaving Yakima and I'm not just leaving my home behind, I felt like I was leaving part of me behind with these rings," said Davison.
Realtors over at Berkshire Hathaway suspected it was a couple, Gino Lister and Melissa Rodriguez, who had looked to young to be interested in buying a house.
A different agent from the same company had reports of missing items at his open house, and the same couple had attended.
Lister has been arrested and charged for first degree trafficking stolen property, and second degree theft.
Branch Manager at Berkshire Hathaway Russ Redfield says many people right now are putting their house on the market, and is urging home owners to hide your belongings. Especially jewelry, loose cash and medication.
"If you're going to have your house on open, go through it as you would if you were a buyer. Walk though your own home, pull drawers open, open cabinets, if you see something there of value, go ahead and put it in a more secure place," said Redfield.
Not all was lost for Jill Davison. Berkshire Hathaway realtors were able to find her husband and grandmother's rings at a local pawn shop, and brought her more at peace before saying goodbye to the city she grew up in.
"You need to know that you are not just taking gold, you're taking peoples meaningful possessions, and that's all they have left of their family," said Davison.
Yakima Police are still searching for the woman they say is involved in stealing items from people's homes. They ask if you have any information on this case to call the Yakima Police Department.