James Olsen, 61, a Milwaukee Realtor was set up …
… attacked and then robbed while showing a house.
Olsen, with Century 21 Affiliated agreed to meet a potential tenant (a woman) at a rental property earlier this month. She was sitting waiting on the porch when the Realtor arrived in broad daylight on a Tuesday afternoon.
They both entered the house and Olsen thought it strange at the time that all the doors were closed. They went through the two-bedroom lower apartment, and as he walked up to the back bedroom, the door flew open and a masked man with a gun appeared, Olsen said, and another masked gunman came out of the bathroom. He was instructed him to get on the floor.
“Then they whacked me in the back of the head. I fell to my knees. I got on the floor. They rifled through my pockets and asked me where the money was,” Olsen said.
The men left, stealing Olsen’s wallet, wedding ring and iPhone. “I feared for my life. I really thought that, laying on the floor, I was going to get shot in the head,” Olsen said.
The assailants said, “we`ll give you 20 seconds or we`ll kill you,'” Olsen said. They then ran out a back door leaving Olsen bleeding from the head.
After a while Olsen eventually went out the front door — meeting his wife, who was waiting in their car. They then reported the incident to police.
Olsen stated “I`m just going to be careful at what I`m doing it, but stick to it and get back up on the horse,” adding that the incident was terrifying — but was not going to let his fear control him.
The Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors has issued this statement regarding what happened to James Olsen:
The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR) learned late Wednesday evening that one of its members, Jim Olsen, with Century 21 Affiliated in Delafield, was attacked while showing a rental property.
“We are extremely thankful that Jim is O.K.,” stated Roxanne Platz, 2016 GMAR Chairwoman. “It appears he took precautions, by not being at the property alone, and that one step could have prevented a much worse outcome,” Platz added. She was referring to the fact that Mr. Olsen’s wife was waiting for him in his car outside the property while he was showing it.
The GMAR and member brokers continuously stress agent safety when meeting with clients. The National Association of REALTORS®, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, and GMAR send print and video information on REALTOR® Safety out to members on a regular basis, as well as making it available 24/7 on each Association’s website.
Additionally, each September is designated as REALTOR® Safety Month, when the Associations provide information on new safety techniques, webinars and safety seminars designed to train each member to be safe in almost any situation they find themselves in.
“REALTOR® Safety is a continuous effort,” stated Mike Ruzicka, GMAR President. “This will certainly act as a wake-up call to everyone, to be cognizant of your environment and take preventive measures when meeting with clients.”
I took a look through GMAR’s Realtor Safety Resources – to be frank and with all due respect, they are not very informative – mainly links (some broken) to other resources. Thankfully James survived, but to claim that his wife’s presence outside the property was a precautionary measure is at the least a little hopeful.
Lest we forget the National Association of Realtors minimum recommendation is to meet at the office, copy the prospects photo ID and let others know where you are going and with whom. James unfortunately didn’t follow any of these recommendations – if he had this incident likely would not have happened.
Takeaways from this incident:
- Always follow NAR’s recommendation when showing homes to strangers.
- It’s not just females that are at risk, men can be attacked.
- Carrying a gun would have been useless in this incident, with not one but two assailants both pointing guns.
- Just because it’s a woman that makes the appointment, that is no assurance of safety – remember Beverly Carter was set up by her murders wife.
Verify Photo ID is one way of screening who you will be meeting before you actually meet with a strange prospect. Using data from a prospects photo ID, the app has a verified name and date of birth, so it can check a national sex offender list, check against demographic, financial as well as social media resources. Agents can even pull a Zestimate on the prospects home address as part of the screening process.
This aggregated data will allow an agent to make an informed decision on how and when meet, or to decline the showing altogether. If the showing goes ahead we have a safety monitor that will send distress alerts if there is a problem. Our app is the only one that will inform nominated partners of a problem, accompanied by the verified name and DMV profile image of the prospect and the agents geo-location.