A Florida Realtor fought back against her attacker after she was hit over the head several times with a hammer while showing a house, according to reports.
Janice Flasschoen, 56, a Realtor for Realty Xperts in Port Orange, Fla., who is recovering from the attack, required stitches and suffered cuts and bruises.
Balazs Kris Gombos, 30, a convicted felon from South Daytona, Fla., reportedly had arranged to meet Flasschoen on Monday to look at a house for sale in South Daytona, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Flasschoen reportedly spent about 30 minutes showing the man around the one-story, three-bedroom concrete block home before Gombos asked her about an electric outlet that was missing a face plate in one of the bedrooms, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
He reportedly told her that he was worried his daughter might electrocute herself. When Flasschoen knelt down to take a look at the outlet, Gombos allegedly pulled out a hammer and struck her twice in the back of the head.
She then ran out of the room, but Gombos reportedly blocked her escape, pulled out a gun and then told her, “I want your money. I don’t want to hurt you, but I will,” according to the News-Journal.
Flasschoen had received some self-defense training through a class offered by a local Realtor association, and she told the News-Journal that the training came back to her, and she kicked the man in the groin and kept kicking.
John Mark Bundy, broker-owner for Realty Xperts, told Inman News today, “The good news is Janice is doing fine. She went through quite an ordeal. This was a horrible crime. She’s battered and bruised, but nothing is broken. I just spoke with her a few minutes ago. Her spirits are good.”
Bundy said Flasschoen called him Monday while she was on her way to the hospital. “She is quite a lady. She’s got her wits about her. I think that’s what saved her – she fought and she didn’t give in. She’s a fighter.
“One of the things I insist is that all the Realtors go to…a defense class. She told me she remembered what they taught her in that defense class,” he added.
Flasschoen had just joined Realty Xperts two weeks ago, Bundy said.
Though real estate professionals try to put procedures in place to prevent such attacks, Bundy said he hopes more can be done. It’s difficult, he said, to guard against all predators. “You try to do everything. But honestly, no matter what you do…It’s really a tough situation.”
Gombos allegedly dropped the gun and hammer during the scuffle with Flasschoen, and she grabbed the hammer and chased after him as he ran outside. She reportedly hit him in the back with the hammer.
Construction workers in the area heard screaming, rushed over to the home and held the attacker until police arrived, television station WFTV reported.
Gombos was reportedly charged with robbery and aggravated assault and held at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Police found two knives, pepper spray, handcuffs, the hammer and a pellet gun when they arrested Gombos, the News-Journal reported.
According to a safety guide for real estate professionals that was prepared by the North Carolina Association of Realtors and North Carolina Real Estate Commission, 21 U.S. real estate professionals were murdered while on the job in 2000, and 206 agents died as a result of violent assaults from 1982-2000. The guide, based on the Washington Real Estate Safety Council’s Personal Safety Guide, offers several tips designed to minimize the risk of a potentially dangerous situation.
Among the tips: Keep a cell phone at your side, with emergency numbers set to speed dial; tell someone where you are going, who you are with and when you will be back; meet new clients or customers at your office, verify their identities, photocopy their driver’s licenses; don’t wear expensive jewelry; wear shoes that allow you to run; and have a “buddy” who you can call when your instincts tell you that something is awry.
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