Theft at open house alarms real estate agents

A man posing as an interested buyer at a real estate open house stole a wallet from one of the Realtors in west Morgan Hill, and police are still looking for the suspect, authorities said.

The suspect, described as a white male in his 40s and about six-feet tall, also stole an iPod from the homeowner while on a self-guided tour of the home, according to Realtor Shannon Farrell Pate who sent an e-mail to the Times and other residents alerting them of the crime.

The incident happened about 3 p.m. on the 15000 block of Bowden Court, according to Santa Clara County sheriff’s Lt. Rick Sung. The man “asked for a quick tour” of the home that was for sale, and shortly after Pate – who authorities did not identify by name – showed him out she heard a noise outside.

Pate went outside to investigate and saw the man had gone into her car and stolen her wallet, which contained cash, credit cards and other personal items, Pate said.

A male real estate broker who was also participating in the open house attempted to stop the man, Pate said. The two began to struggle, but the broker let off when he noticed a gun o the passenger’s seat of the suspect’s car, a black Dodge Durango.

The male victim suffered “minor injuries” in the scuffle, Sung said.

The broker also threw a rock at the suspect’s windshield, breaking the glass as the suspect attempted to run over him, Pate said.

Pate said by e-mail that the suspect “was intent on committing a crime.” He showed up just after 3 p.m., when the open house scheduled to end as advertised on Craigslist and a real estate listing service, Pate said.

He was “dressed nicely,” apologized for being late, and “knew exactly what to say” to present himself as an interested buyer, Pate said.  

Pate is worried that the suspect might be planning to target similar homes and victims in the same manner.

“I just want to make sure people are aware that this happens,” Pate said.

The suspect was further described as about 280 pounds, with light brown hair that was combed straight back, blue eyes, wearing khaki shorts, black shoes, and a yellow or gold short-sleeve button-up Tommy Bahama shirt, Sung said.

His vehicle is described as a late-90s or early-00s black Dodge Durango, with faded paint, and possibly with a cracked windshield, Sung said.

Anyone with information about this case can contact sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Elder at (408) 808-4500, or the sheriff’s tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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