A light-fingered estate agent was caught red handed, after stealing a Galaxy chocolate bar from a flat he was showing to potential tenants. He had a quick check over his shoulder to make sure no-one was looking - unaware that the current tenant had installed covert security cameras.
Jon Charter, a 42-year-old operations manager, had been renting the property in Walthamstow for the previous ten years. He told the London Evening Standard that he had bought the cameras for his new home, and was trying them out in the flat before he moved.
He was checking the footage when he came across pictures of the agent, in a purple suit, showing people around the flat. He was shocked to see him pocket a chocolate bar. He texted the agent, who said he had felt dizzy, and had taken the chocolate to stop himself fainting. He apologised and asked Carter not to take the matter any further.
Carter contacted the agency immediately. Manish Somani, Director of Your Move Sterling & Co, told the Standard: "We take pride in the provisions of our services and we are very serious the protection of our reputation and brand. Therefore as soon as we were made aware of this incident action was taken and the employee is no longer working for us."
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Estate agents don't have the best of reputations, and while there are many highly professional individuals working hard to do their best for their clients, there are others who are seriously letting the side down.
There have been other thefts - in one case in May last year, an estate agent in Virginia was caught on camera by the homeowners. They discovered footage of him going through wardrobes and drawers in the master bedroom - before stealing a negligee.
Last March, an estate agent in Florida was caught by another hidden camera. She had been showing the property for a year, and during that time the owners started to notice medication and cash going missing, so they installed a secret camera in the bedroom. The video showed her stealing pills from a prescription bottle, and taking a swig of mouthwash - to mask the smell of the beer she had taken from the fridge earlier.
Other thefts have involved alarming sums. In January last year a letting agent from Plymouth was jailed for two years, after stealing £210,177 that tenants had thought were being used as security deposits on properties. He used the cash to prop up the business and take a number of holidays.
And poor behaviour by agents doesn't stop at theft. In December last year, a couple sued two estate agents from the company they had employed to sell their New Jersey home. They wondered why their home hadn't sold after two months on the market, so installed hidden cameras to check. They discovered the two agents were conducting a sexual relationship at the property. They then sued in the belief the pair had deliberately over-priced their home so they would have an empty property in which to carry on their bedroom activities.
It's almost enough to make you think twice before risking letting an agent loose in your home.
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