Jewels, electronics, booze. These are the vanishing items you might expect to see in your everyday shoplifting news, but a long-time agent is making headline waves for a controversy involving a niche industry commodity: real estate yard signs.
On August 26, Realtor Jamie Regan pleaded not guilty to two counts of larceny (of less than $250) for stealing Sotheby’s International signs in a New Seabury, Massachusetts, neighborhood, the southern part of the town of Mashpee. (The area is known as being a hub for wealthy people to buy their summer homes.)
In May, an unidentified man went to the police and said he saw Regan take two signs and place them in the back of his car.
Although he was seen taking only two signs, a New Seabury Sotheby’s agent said the brokerage noticed an additional 10 to 12 signs were missing, according to a report by the Cape Cod Times.
When questioned about the missing signs, Regan admitted to taking them but said they belonged to him — not the brokerage.
Regan’s explanation might have held up — except the neighborhood where he took the signs has an exclusive agreement with Sotheby’s.
Furthermore, the police said they have a video that shows Regan taking the signs and placing them in his vehicle.
Regan has 30-plus years of industry experience under his belt and joined Robert Paul Properties as a senior associate in 2013. The Cape Cod Times reported this as according to his agent profile on Robert Paul Properties — which has since been removed.
He is due back in court on Sept. 27 for a pre-trial hearing.
Other sign-stealing mischief
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a brokerage or agent has had to deal with stolen signs.
In 2013, Brighton, Colorado, Realtor Greg Portlock noticed his “Home for Sale” signs were being taken, but he had no clue who took them or why.
He set up a hidden camera and caught footage of someone coming by his listings at night and taking the signs. But he couldn’t get a clear picture of the culprit and he had no idea where they were taking the signs.
So, Portlock started placing small GPS tracking devices on each of his signs that led police to the thief’s home. In the garage, police found 100 of Portlock’s signs.
The suspect said he was not at fault for taking the signs because they were “improperly placed.”