SPOKANE -- Realtors are seeing an increase in burglars targeting vacant homes for sale. They are trying to get copper wiring and appliances. They said they are using the key that comes out of the lock box to get in.
Rob Higgins, who is with the Spokane Association of Realtors, said the locks on area vacant homes are the best. They are electronically operated. When the box is opened, the agent, who has the listing, is automatically alerted to their phone or email of an unauthorized opening. Higgins said it is mind boggling that people are bothering to do it.
"I would think it would be easier to break into a house rather than use the lock box," said Higgins.
Despite the technology, the Spokane Police Crime Analysis Department said lock box burglaries on homes for sale are increasing. They have seen about a dozen cases since the middle of March.
Higgins said the criminals are breaking them off the door handle, taking them away to another location to break them open, and then coming back with the key. Realtors recommend asking neighbors to keep an eye out on the property if you are no longer living in the house.
It could be difficult to tell if copper wiring has been stolen from a house. Realtors recommend having an inspector check it out before you buy.