The 2015 Real Estate Rogues Gallery

Despite warnings, assaults continue.

This post is by Peter Toner, the found of VerifyPhotoID, and a friend of the Realtor safety movement. You can find the original here.

Beverly Carter’s murder almost a year ago in Arkansas , raised new awareness of the dangers real estate agents face when they meet strangers.

Whilst many Realtor’s have taken varied steps to protect themselves, that hasn’t stopped predators from trying. Unfortunately the agents, whose stories we briefly tell below, were victims of what we have started referring to as “Crimes by Appointment”. All these incidents happened in 2015:

January 2015 Elk Grove CA

A Realtor was kidnapped and held at gunpoint during an appointment to show an Elk Grove  model home to someone she thought was a potential buyer, but instead was handcuffed and held captive for about an hour.

Police say Burnhart told the agent they were going to walk out of the home together. Instead, after Burnhart walked out, the agent slammed the door behind him and locked it. That’s when he jumped in his truck and took off.

David Burnhart a registered sex offender was arrested the next day and charged with crimes including robbery, burglary, making terrorist threats, illegal possession of a firearm, kidnapping and false imprisonment.


March 2015 Gilbert AZ

michael-workmanA female agent says that during a lull in her open house a man posing as a prospective buyer from Canada walked into the home in the Gardens subdivision in Gilbert, Ariz.

The man told her he had gotten a job in the State of Arizona and needed to purchase a home quickly. The female agent described the conversation as “uncomfortable” as he asked if she was alone and if she had a pedicure recently.

The agent said the man then fondled her, before grabbing her business cards and fliers and leaving the home.

“He had me completely pressed against a wall … I couldn’t stop staring at his skin, it was so close to me and disgusting. I know how to protect myself, I know how to box, I’ve taken self defense courses, I had mace with me, I had a knife with me, I didn’t use any of it.” said the female real estate agent.

47-year-old Michael Malcolm Workman was arrested about a month later on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping.


 April 2015 Fayetteville

realtor-kidnappedA female agent made an appointment with a woman named “Makayla” to show her a house on Hidden Creek Drive. While preparing paperwork in the kitchen “Makayla” pulled a gun out of a diaper bag and pointed it at her, throwing a zip tie on the counter, telling the victim to tie herself with it because she needed to go to an ATM to withdraw some money.

The victim refused and pleaded with “Makayla” to put the gun away. When the suspect briefly set the gun down, the victim ran from the home to a house on Edgewater Drive and called for help.

Amilya Barcenas, 25, was later arrested and charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery and criminal mischief,


June 2015 Rolla MO

rowlandJulian Rowland, 24 walked into a real estate office looking for a rental. A female agent showed him several properties including an apartment on Vienna Road.

When they entered a bedroom in the apartment, the woman opened a closet and was facing away from the subject when he allegedly placed his arms around her midsection and asked “if she wanted to have a little fun.”

Then he attacked, forcibly raped and sodomized the agent inside the apartment. After the ordeal she drove him back to the office before visiting Phelps County Regional Medical Center and alerting police.

Rowland, who lived only a short distance from the real estate company was arrested and charged the next day.


June 2015 Kingman AZ

sid-cranston

Sidney Cranston Jr. (left) went missing on June 16. The real estate agent and civil engineer, 40, was last seen at Interstate 40 and Stockton Hill Road while talking with potential buyers.

There was a possibly sighting on video at an ATM a couple of days later …

….  but he hasn’t been seen since.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Sid Cranston is asked to call the Kingman Police Department at (928) 753-1911, Silent Witness at (928) 753-1234 or go online to www.kingmanpolice.com.


June 2015 St. Petersburg, FL

paul-pinkstonA man who went by the name “Robert Evans” arranged a meeting with a Realtor to look at a home on Oxford Street.

That’s where police said he bound her hands and feet with zip ties, called her husband for ransom, and robbed her.

An hour later, they say he robbed a second real estate agent, who agreed to meet him at a home on 12th Street North, forcing her to the ground in a bedroom and pointing a pistol at her head.

Within a few days Paul Jay Pinkston, 58, a retired Air Force major was arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping with a deadly weapon.


July 1025 Gwinnett GA

gwinnett-attackerA Realtor agreed to show a home and met the prospect at the house. The prospect got out of his truck in a dress and a woman’s wig.

She was a little perturbed, so she let the wigged man view the home alone while she stayed outside. After the man viewed the home, he stepped outside, and started physically assaulting the agent on the porch.

She managed to escape and flagged down a motorist who called 911. Officers were dispatched to the scene around 9 a.m. after a caller stated she was with a woman who was covered in blood.

Jeffrey Wayne Shumate of Lawrenceville was arrested later that day.


August 2015 Bradenton FL

matatee-attackerA 69-year-old Realtor was attacked in a home in the Whitfield Estates area just outside of Bradenton.

The agent told a local TV news station that she let her guard down and didn’t follow proper safety protocols.

The man going by the name “Jim” called her into the bathroom yelling that the toilet was leaking that’s when she says he attacked. But she managed to convince the predator that the owners were soon returning, getting her out of the bad situation before she was raped.

“Jim” also met another female real estate agent only an hour later at another home. The agent who thought the prospect was creepy, stood outside while he looked at the home.

Bruce Anthony Kotter, 63, was charged with kidnapping and attempted sexual battery the very next day.


August 2015 Colleyville TX

Tommie_Hawkins

Real estate agent Ty Williams got a call from a man claiming to be looking for $2 million homes. “He asked all the right questions. He seems very legitimate,” Williams said.

Tommie Marvin Hawkins Jr.  asked the Realtor to leave his car, so the two would be in the same car while they looked at homes.

At the end of the second day of looking at houses, Williams asked to return to his car, but he says Hawkins stopped far from where he parked and made sexual advances, Williams said, explaining that Hawkins indicated he wanted to be taught how to pleasure himself.

When he refused, Williams says Hawkins became very angry. He managed to convince him to drive to his car where he got away and called police. “I am very concerned for other Realtor’s that may run into this individual that he may step it up, and they may not be as lucky as I was,” Williams said.

Tommie Marvin Hawkins Jr has been a registered sex offender in the State of Texas since 2001.


If you know of other incidents this year please let me know in the comments and I will add them to the list.

Most of these attacks might not have happened at all, if the agent had followed safety protocols and used the Verify Photo ID app before meeting with strange prospects.

Predator’s won’t want to verify their identify – this is a huge red flag if someone refuses your request.