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Realtor of alleged victim speaks out after open house thefts

Realtor of alleged victim speaks out after open house thefts
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 15:03:15-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A local realtor is sharing her experience after she says her client was one victim out of a string of open house thefts.

The Colorado Springs Police Department said they arrested 37-year-old Brandon Hernandez on Wednesday after investigating a pattern of similar crimes that happened up and down the Front Range.

Laura Karan said she held an open house showing for her client on June 26. She said she was happy to see people stopping by and didn't think anything of it when a man, who she said was Hernandez, walked through the door.

"I noticed one man came up by himself, pulled up and came into the house rather quickly. I approached him immediately and said 'Hi, can I help you?' and he said he was a realtor," she said.

Karan was hosting the showing alone and said she was too busy with other clients to notice anything suspicious. She said he told her he was representing an out-of-state client and continued to walk around each floor of the home before leaving.

"He looked like he was on a mission," she said.

Later that night, Karan said her client notified her of missing items in the house. Sergeant Gary Tedeschi with the Colorado Springs Police Department said there have been six reports of missing items, spanning across five counties, and more are still coming in.

"He's pretty active. So I wouldn't doubt that we don't find a bunch of more cases in those other counties," Sgt. Tedeschi said.

He said if you have expensive items, take a picture of them so that police can better help you track them down if they are lost or stolen. He also said to lock up valuable items instead of hiding them in drawers or cabinets.

"The unfortunate problem is those bad guys know. Do not leave it out. Do not hide it in drawers. These guys will go in drawers. They they're not afraid to do that. I mean they're not afraid to get in your house. So lock it up, keep it away," he said.

Karan said if you're having an open house, put away valuable items like cash, jewelry, prescription drugs and firearms. She said other realtors should learn from her experience and try not to show homes alone and keep an eye on people coming in and out of open houses.

If you believe you were a victim of Hernandez’s scam, contact your local law enforcement agency.

If you're a resident of Colorado Springs, this is still an active investigation and anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-STOP (7867) or 1-800-222-8477.
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