Foreclosed homes promise the metaphorical steal but are especially vulnerable to the real thing, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Bank-owned homes — more than 1,400 are listed in Memphis — are typically vacant. “Everyone knows how to spot a foreclosure,” said real estate agent Mindy Creech. “They see the paperwork in the front and they know it’s vacant.” The furniture and electronics may be gone, but the AC systems, kitchen appliances, light and plumbing fixtures are low-hanging fruit for thieves.
Three months ago, thieves kicked in the door of a vacant foreclosure where the water was still on. Though vacant, the home’s water was still turned on. “They went in and started to cut the copper in the wall with the water on [ ] that’s pretty brazen,” said agent Shorty Watkins. Sometimes thieves really do take the kitchen sink. “We’ve had it where they took the cabinets, the sink, the toilet, the lights, everything,” Creech said. More thefts seem to be happening this summer in part because of copper prices, which have risen by more than a $1 per pound in the past year. Burglars generally aren’t taking air conditioner components to cool air elsewhere, but to sell them as scrap metal. In two recent cases, thieves pulled the ‘For Sale’ sign out of the yard, backed up their truck to the garage as if they were moving in, but they were actually stealing items from the home.