BAKERSFIELD - Local real estate agents say break-ins at homes for sale have been on the rise.
It's a problem that affects the homeowner, potential buyers, real estate agents, and insurance companies.
"Whatever thieves see a for sale sign, it's like a beacon for them to commit the crime," said Michael McCracken, real estate agent.
Appliance thefts were very common during the foreclosure boom, but the crime continues to occur.
"It's not even just vacant homes. We're finding this happening in occupied homes as well. The home is for sale, owners aren't there, people break into them steal appliances and other valuables," said Theresa Olson, Bakersfield Association of Realtors president.
Police say the best thing for realtors to do is to let neighbors know a home is vacant and ask them to report suspicious activity.
The ongoing crime is gotten so bad that many real estate agents are thinking twice before putting up the for sale sign.
"That's one of the things people decide not to do with 90% of people starting their search online nowadays. The sign is still a great way, but we talk to many of our owners and ask if it's worth it," said McCracken.
Real estate agents say the crimes usually occur after an open house, or a vendor is hired to work on the property.
"Over the last couple years we've been trying to fight the crime, fight the fraud. It's a gamble. Their going in there stealing things and reselling them," said Olson.
Are there "For Sale" signs in your neighborhood? Talk to Mark Christian about it on Facebook: facebook.com/MarkChristian23ABC .
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