Police in Mississippi this week arrested a man they say repeatedly threatened to attack and rape female real estate agents in multiple counties.
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday that Frank Mainka, 44, had been arrested after fleeing across state lines. According to local news station WCBI, the case began after police received reports of disturbing calls and text messages left for agents. The messages described “violent events” the caller wanted to commit, the station reported, citing the local sheriff.
The calls reportedly began late last month and ultimately prompted the Greater Golden Triangle Realtors Facebook group to issue a warning to members on Dec. 29.
“An unidentified male is threatening to have his wife set up an appointment to view a property where he says he will show up and rape the attending Realtor!” the Facebook group warned. “He has made other threats and boasts he has done this four times, twice on the coast and twice in Starkville.”
Police described a similar situation, according to WCBI, noting multiple instances in which the man threatened to show up and rape agents.
The sheriff’s department eventually sent a deputy to speak with an agent who received the messages. While the deputy was talking to the agent, WCBI reported, the man called back yet again, enabling the deputy to hear firsthand what was happening.
Investigators eventually used phone records and social media posts to trace the calls and messages to Mainka, who according to local station WTVA is a convicted sex offender on parole for cyber stalking, weapons possession and other crimes. When police tried to contact Mainka, he reportedly fled to Arkansas, where he was ultimately arrested.
Authorities extradited Mainka back to Mississippi on Monday and he is being held on $100,000 bond.
According to WCBI, police in other jurisdictions around Mississippi have received reports of similar activity and consider Mainka a suspect in those incidents as well.
The case highlights the safety challenges many agents face on a daily basis. And while it appears so far that this particular rash of threats didn’t result in actual attacks on agents, other industry members have not been so fortunate. On New Year’s Eve 2019, for example, a Minneapolis agents was lured to a home showing where she was abducted and then fatally shot. In mid 2020, a Virginia agent was hit over the head more than 10 times with a crescent wrench during an open house. She survived, but faced a long road to recovery.
In August 2020, police in Ohio arrested two men with attempting to abduct a female real estate agent as she was preparing to show a home. Just weeks later, an agent in Utah was showing a home when she opened a door and found a man with a rifle. Police said the man pointed the gun at the agent and told her to leave.
Last year, a real estate agent also killed two other agents at a New York brokerage before taking his own life. Months later, police in Florida arrested a man on charges of stalking and harassing two well-known celebrity agents and TikTokers.
Such incidents have prompted a discussion in the industry about safety and the need for agents to watch their backs.