Las Vegas real estate agent attacked at model home, police say
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A real estate agent was attacked after the suspect entered the model home she was showing, according to an arrest report by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
Richy Cervantes faces charges of home invasion, attempted sexual assault, lewdness, battery and kidnapping after the incident on July 11 at an undisclosed neighborhood.
According to police, a real estate agent was working at a model home and showing the home to potential buyers. The agent said a man was walking around the model home acting suspicious and unlocking windows inside the home, the report said.
After the man left, the real estate agent locked the front door and windows of the model home before calling the police and reporting the suspicious man, the report said. Then the agent called a coworker, explained the situation and asked him to join her on-site.
While the agent was on the phone with her coworker, the suspect returned to the home and was trying to get back inside, the report said. The woman hid in a closet and stayed on the phone with her coworker.
The suspect then broke a window and entered the home, according to the arrest report, and found the victim hiding. The woman said the man dragged her out of the closet and pinned her down, the report said. The man made threatening comments toward her before performing a lewd act, the report said.
Police used a sledgehammer to bust open the front door and took the suspect into custody, the report said. Police identified the suspect in the report as Cervantes.
According to court records, Cervantes is being held without bail. His next court hearing was set for July 19.
Las Vegas police said they are looking for any additional victims of Cervantes.
Carl Carter’s mom Beverly, was a real estate broker. In 2014, she was kidnapped and murdered by a man and woman posing as clients.
“They tricked her into believing that they were interested in buying a home and it was at a showing that they kidnapped my mom with the intention of holding her for ransom and when their plan didn’t go as they thought it would they tragically, horribly, ended my sweet mom’s life,” Carter said.
He founded the non-profit organization Beverly Carter Foundation to raise awareness of real estate agent safety.
“It’s all very compelling and in a lot of ways kind of glamorous at times. So you don’t think about the professionals that are in this industry they’re showing these homes and so often they’re doing so with people they barely know at all. And with that – there are risks,” Carter said.
He said women are the majority in this profession.
“66% of real estate agents are females across the country and just being a female in this digital age and in an industry, you have to market yourself and the services you provide that – unfortunately, brings negative attention,” Carter said.
Carter said this agent did everything right considering she was alone.
“But as we see in this particular story and it’s through no fault of her own but real life happens, and it’s not always possible to have a second person. 6:59 So then what do you do right? You do much like what this precious agent did and that was paying attention to surroundings not camping out you know in a spot of the house where you cant see what’s going on with your face in your cellphone,” Carter said.
Melissa Fama-Flis, Vice President of Marketing for Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, said they try to establish healthy safety habits with their agents.
“We always tell our agents to – when showing the property to bring the client into the office first and have them meet us here. That way we’re able to take a copy of their ID and we can make sure they have a pre-qualification letter from their lender,” Fama-Flis said.
Next month a Las Vegas Police officer will be visiting the office to do a workshop about agent safety. This was already scheduled before this incident happened.
Fama-Flis shared other safety protocols to keep in mind.
“Always be aware of your surroundings and have an exit strategy so if you can’t get to the front door- how do you get to the back door? Or what’s the quickest way to get to the street? Don’t park in the driveway because someone can block you in. Always make sure your cellphone is fully charged,” Fama-Flis said.
She credits the real state agent who was attacked for listening to her instinct.
“Thank goodness that she listened to her gut instinct because if she had not taken action when she did and made the phone calls that she did the police may have not arrived in time so that’s the most important thing. If somebody is making you uncomfortable then you need to take action and not ignore that instinct or that gut feeling,” Fama-Flis said.
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