A suspicious serial caller who has targeted female agents at real estate brokerages nationwide over the past six months resurfaced earlier this week in Arizona, raising renewed fears among safety advocates and real estate professionals over the man’s intentions.
The caller, who has introduced himself as “Dwayne Bergeman” in unsettling phone calls to brokerages in Massachusetts, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Hawaii and elsewhere, has prompted Realtor associations in Boston, Pittsburgh and Little Rock to issue safety alerts to members.
The same caller appears to have struck again on Wednesday in Tempe, Arizona, directly calling a Realtor from the area in his so-called search for a single-family home.
“A man with an extremely deep voice by the name of DWAYNE BERGEMAN called me today claiming to be a buyer and I could tell by how vague he was as well as how delayed his responses were that something was off,” wrote the Realtor in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “After the call, I Googled his name and found him in lots of different articles.”
In an interview with Inman, the agent — Nicole Courtney of Weichert Realtors – Courtney Valleywide — said the caller was vague, indicating only that he was looking for a single-family, three-bedroom home in north Phoenix with a pool and two-car garage, but he remained tight-lipped throughout the four-minute conversation. Since her social media posts, several other women in Arizona and Hawaii have come forward to claim similar calls from a man with the same name.
“He called me out of nowhere, and it really was just the way he was talking to me that I could tell something was off about him,” Courtney told Inman on Thursday, adding that she informed police. “When he called me he was very, very weird. He was short with me, and he was vague — he just said he wanted a house.”
Carl Carter, the son of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2014 after showing a home to a man who she believed was a prospective buyer, told Inman he received a call from Courtney after seeing reports of “Bergeman” in Little Rock.
“He’s been hitting all over, from Baton Rouge in Louisiana to Portland, Oregon to North Carolina, and it’s just sort of odd what he’s doing,” Carter said. He founded the Beverly Carter Foundation after his mother’s death to help improve safety for real estate agents nationwide.
Carter said that in each incident, agents have reported to local authorities a man with the “creepiest, deepest voice,” they’ve ever heard, calling brokerages from a phone number tied to a local area code. He often calls female agents directly, and frequently he is unable to answer specific questions about what kind of home he is seeking, Carter told Inman on Wednesday.
“He’s clearly using an application that gives him a spoof number because every time he calls, he’s calling from a different number,” Carter said. “And every time he calls, he calls from their area code, which is part of the reason they’re picking up the phone.”
The Arizona call follows previous incidents in Baton Rouge, Lousiana; Salem and Portland in Oregon; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Little Rock, Arkansas; and parts of North Carolina and Hawaii, according to Courtney and Carter.
In Boston, at least four female real estate agents from Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty and a fifth from another brokerage reported calls from “Bergeman” in October, according to John Dulczewski, executive vice president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.
In each case, the man “expressed an urgency in wanting to see property as quickly as possible” and in several cases he called one of the agents multiple times, Dulczewski told Inman.
“Despite the strength of the market here, it was that urgency that raised red flags,” said Dulczewski, who said his association has since reached out to all of its members and other associations across Massachusetts.
“The concern,” he added, “would be some sort of physical attack and the risk posed to the agents’ safety by interacting with an individual they have no prior familiarity or contact with.”
If you have more information about this caller, please contact your local authorities. If you’re willing to share your experience, email us.
Email Jotham Sederstrom
Update: This article was modified after publication per editor’s notes.