Last Year I Met this Thief on an Open House, Now he is Out of Jail and Body Slamming Agents?
Agents had sent out emails regarding several jewelry thefts at open houses. My Mom and I and many other agents in are office had been well-informed and were taking all the proper precautions to prevent anything from happening. So, we put two agents on this two-story Preston Hollow home in Dallas, one male agent from our office and myself. This was before we knew a name or had any pictures or descriptions of the thief…. We were aware that he was distracting agents by talking to them briefly and presenting himself as someone who was genuinely interested in purchasing a home in the area. Some agents said that he seemed very friendly and in the least bit suspicious. Perhaps that is because in the past, Steven Breed has been described as a gifted elementary school teacher and a grandfatherlike minister. But the Allen man is also suspected by several area law enforcement officials of being one of the most dauntless jewel thieves in North Texas.
So, the open house started off just any other day. We often times greet customers with a brochure or graphic of the property and politely ask if the customer would sign in. As soon as he walked up to the house, I felt something was off, but I treated him fairly and asked him to sign-in. After he was caught and put in jail, we found out that the “clever” thief signed in using his own name, Steven Breed. He hit several other houses that day, but used different names all over to sign in. I still wonder why he didn’t use an alias at that house. It was either because he was too flustered to think or because he was just scoping out the house out to see if it was worth his while to come back later and steal something. Or maybe he knew I was one tough chick who wouldn’t let him get away with anything! J/K.
This home was priced just below 2 million dollars and actually belonged to a fellow agent in our office, so she was aware, just as we tell our clients, that it is extremely important to remove your expensive belongings from the house, or keep them in a safe that cannot be stolen out of the house.
Although we had 2 agents on the house, he tried to distract us by following in 2 other groups of customers… good tactic, but the guy still gave me the creeps and something seemed totally off about him. The other agent was walking the other customers out of the house and talking to them. I asked him to come back inside to help me with the situation, but the other customers were very interested and the agent looked perplexed because I was being impolite.
After getting between the window and his car to protect me from getting a snapshot of his car (which worked), he basically ran into the master bedroom, forcing me to follow close behind. He was bold enough to open up a drawer in front of me. Luckily it looked to be a makeup drawer without anything sparkly to steal. Who knows what would have happened if it hadn’t. I pushed it shut, and he asked some silly question about the material of the counter tops. He then entered the walk-in closet. I followed as closely behind as I could so he could not get any further and the next thing I knew, I was chasing him up the stairs from room to room. He was scanning the place up and down and it was clear he wasn’t just interested in the paint color or wondering what type of hardwoods they had in the house. I almost feel certain that he was aware that I thought he was up to no good, but he still kept pressing on. I had my mace pen out the whole time and the other agent was still outside talking to the other couple!
He was fleeing up the stairs, and he was really fast! Finally after he been in and out of each room, I got a quick iPhone photo of him on the way down the stairs, so he couldn’t see me in the act. It was just his side profile and it was a bit blurry since he was rushing down the stairs; however, it was decent enough to show the detective and compare their materials on the crook, but there was still no way to catch him…. He had to be caught in the act.
He wasn’t going to get away with stealing anything on my watch. I told the owner of the encounter. She didn’t find anything important missing, but weeks later, she wondered if he had snagged an iPod, since it had gone missing. After he left, I told the other agent that how flustered I was. All of that happened while he was outside talking to the other couple. Later that afternoon, my Mom spoke to him on the phone and he told her he thought I was being “paranoid.” Not the case. Women’s intuition perhaps?
Anyway, that is my little story of my encounter with this big thief. That day he hit several other Preston Hollow homes, duping agents. I think it was estimated that he stole over $20,000 worth of jewelry that day. Who knows how much he had stolen before he was put in jail. It’s an insane number. I had several discussions to follow with the detective on the case and was shocked to hear how difficult it is to catch a thief like that. It would seem so obvious, but he has to be caught in the act! Finally he was put in jail, but not for long, after he was set up, but as soon as he got out, he was up to his old tricks again.
A Dallas area Realtor Jona Thomas told NBC she is certain Breed made an appearance at her open house in east Richardson in Mid-January, posing as an interested home buyer. And he is said to have visited six homes over one weekend in January, including some in Preston Hollow. Agents say Breed is a bit slimmer now than his mug shot, seen below.
He has been all over the news, but it hasn’t been enough to protect agents or open houses. He started hitting Plano houses and moved South into Dallas again. Now he is apparently in Houston. Read the article above. In retrospect, I was making sure I protected the property, but I am lucky I was not harmed. Many agents have been harmed and even killed in situations with open houses. This was not the first time my Mom and I have encountered thieves on open houses. They are called, “open houses” for a reason, but maybe we should be getting driver’s license numbers, as opposed to just using a sign-in sheet.
The method has been simple: Instead of breaking into houses, he poses as a home buyer and gets a real estate agent to take him in, area police said.
But court documents, acquaintances and area Realtors accuse the divorced father of three of being much more than a sneak thief: They describe the 53-year-old as a con man whose life has been driven by a gambling habit.
It’s an obsession so powerful that just days after his recent arrest in Frisco on suspicion of stealing jewelry, Breed may have been at it again. Police believe that Breed, using an alias, called a Realtor in Allen, asking to be shown a house for sale.
“Mr. Breed is not your usual suspect,” Highland Park Detective Marty Nevil said in July of 2010 after he had been released on bail. “His story is shocking to most people due to the number of years he has been operating under the same modus operandi and the length at which he is willing to corroborate a good story to complete his mission.”
KEEP AN EYE OUT. Inform sellers and agents in Texas of what you know about this guy. Send pictures. It’s bad enough how much he has stolen, but now he is injuring agents.