by: Tom Regan Updated:
ATLANTA - Real estate agents are warning metro Atlanta home sellers to hide their medications.
Drug abusers are targeting home showings to steal prescription medicine to abuse and to sell on the street.
"They're looking for pain medication and stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin. You never know who's coming in for a showing; if he's for lack of a better word, a junkie," said Brandie Miner of the Georgia Association of Realtors.
Miner told Channel 2's Tom Regan real estate agents have reported instances of couples scheduling home showings for the purpose of searching a home and stealing drugs from bathroom cabinets or drawers.
"A lot of times, they will work in teams. One person will distract the realtor, and the other person will wander around and go into the medicine cabinets and steal prescription pain medicine," Miner said.
The medication can be resold for enormous profit on the street. A single, large bottle of powerful pain medicine, like Oxycontin, can reap thousands in single-pill sales.
"A lot of homeowners don't think of their prescription drugs as valuable, but they certainly are. They have a high street value," said real estate agent Marty Long.
Long showed Regan a home listed in Collier Heights in northwest Atlanta. He said he and other agents are wary of drug thieves at open houses.
"It’s very easy to get distracted. Someone could easily come into a master bath, a small location with prescription drugs, and put them in their pocket, and you would really have no idea," said Long.
The Georgia Association of Realtors recommends home sellers treat prescription medications like other valuables and keep the medications in a locked location during home showings.