Surprise (Arizona) police Tuesday arrested a man they say stripped his foreclosed home of fixtures and other equipment.
A grand jury indicted Garcia on charges of criminal damage and defrauding a secure creditor, giving police probable cause to arrest the former Surprise resident at about 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday.
It’s about time.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of empathy for people that lose their home. For many, things are completely out of their control and it is a very sad thing.
But as a real estate broker, I see homes all the time that the owner has completely trashed. Nothing appears to be safe from these types. Missing cabinets, counter tops, flooring, air conditioning units, toilets ”“ you name it and some pissed-off disgruntled “victim” of foreclosure has stolen it.
Yes, stolen it. It is stealing people, plain and simple.
Read the comments on the AZ Central article. Some people are saying the cops are screwing this guy, some practically make him out to be a hero.
He’s an accused thief, plain and simple. He was under contractual obligation to maintain the home. That’s part of the deal when you get a mortgage – the lender has a lien on your home and has the right to recover the asset if you fail to pay back your loan. And part of that asset includes fixtures attached to the home.
Let’s say you get a car loan and for whatever reason stop making the payments. You know the repo man is dropping by for a visit soon. Do you rip the seats out of the car, remove the engine, put the car on blocks and swipe the rims? Every day people are doing tens of thousands of dollars of damage to their homes – homes bought with loans the owner is under contractual (and ethical) obligation to maintain.
Maybe you think, “So what. The banks are the ones that have to eat the loss and they deserve it!”
Wrong. If you are a homeowner, Joe Thief’s criminal act just negatively impacted YOUR home value. Like it or not, when your neighbor guts his house, the value of your home declines.
So Joe Thief isn’t just screwing the bank. He’s screwing you, too.
Here’s something to ponder as you are taking a crowbar to your kitchen – is this sink and faucet really worth spending time in the pokey married to Bubba and his pals?
If you’ve never seen first-hand what some people do to their homes, here is a short video I shot back in January at a trashed out home in Agritopia. There are worse examples, believe me.