Bank Sends Scary Person To Break Into Your House

Nancy was sitting at home when someone busted the lock on her door. She was afraid she was being robbed, but it turned out that Chase had mistaken her home for a foreclosure and sent someone to change its locks. It took a visit from police to figure that out.

A CNN story says banks commonly uses the technique, but it usually waits for a home to be actually foreclosed upon before sending in the lock-breaking brigade. Nancy was behind on her payments but negotiating with the bank, which admitted mistakenly sending in the goons but did not apologize for the mix-up.

Nancy’s attorney says:

This is an absolutely terrifying phenomenon. This is happening all across the country to people just like Nancy. It’s so important to emphasize she’s not in foreclosure at all. There was absolutely no warning.

Here’s the interview:

Bank breaks into home – over mortgage payments [CNN]
(Thanks, NORMLgirl!)

Comments

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  1. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I wonder how many Cory Maye-type incidents it will take for them to wise up.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      I wonder how long its going to be until the homeowner shoots in this type of incident.

      • craptastico says:

        that’s what i was thinking. it’s only a matter of time. whenever a banks sends someone in for something like this there should be some kind of police involvement or supervision

        • Thyme for an edit button says:

          I agree and that is probably actually required if a place is occupied. These lock breakers should be looking for signs of occupancy and when in doubt, DON’T break in. As fast as I know, the police are the only ones who can forcibly evict someone who had lawful possession and has since lost it (and new owner or tenant has a court order to show it)

          • Pax says:

            At least where I am, the City police can’t even do that. It has to be an officer from the country Sheriff’s office. And the owner has to have a Writ of Execution so specifying from a Judge, typically from the specialised Housing Court, as well.

            Otherwise, it’s a crime. One punishable not just by fines, but by jail time. MGL Chapter 186, Section 14: “Any lessor or landlord [...] who attempts to regain possession of such premises by force without benefit of judicial process, shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than six months.”

            Putting someone’s furniture out on the street, without that Writ, is a very bad move, up here. Kicking in the door and changing the locks, too.

            And that’s all AFTER you get out of the hospital after being shot as an intruder.

        • Difdi says:

          Police involvement won’t save them. If a homeowner’s response is to demand the papers proving the officer has the right to force an entry, and the officer lacks them or refuses to show them (or draws his weapon in response to such a demand) then shooting said officer is legally justified, in a castle doctrine state.

      • Dre' says:

        Especially in “castle doctrine” states like Florida. This guy would have been very dead, very fast trying to pull this in my or most of my neighbor’s houses.

        • rewind says:

          See that is the weird thing…you would think that a guy paid to break into a house would maybe, just maybe knock first, or if the utilities are supposedly off, check the electrical meter. In Florida or Texas this guy might very well have been the victim, but of nothing more than the bank’s incompetence.

          • Saltpork says:

            31 states have some version of a castle doctrine.

            This is an accident waiting to happen.
            Like other posters said, check for signs that the house isn’t being used or occupied.

            I am in a state with a Castle doctrine & I do keep a gun(a few actually, I hunt).
            I’m in the same boat. If I was relaxing in my home and someone broke in, they’d have a loaded shotgun pointed at them at all times until the police showed up or they showed threat of violence towards me.

            This is America. Lots of us own guns. You don’t just barge in.

      • TheMonkeyKing says:

        Castle Doctrine for North Carolina:
        “Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.

        (a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder’s unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence, or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.

        (b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder in the circumstances described in this section.[19]“

        A man with a crowbar entering my house will always be assumed to be an intruder of Part (a), section (ii). And depending on where I am and the intruder entering, the deadly force could come from a gun, shotgun, crossbow, two-handed sword, or any of my Henkel kitchen knives.

      • kenskreations says:

        I agree. I live in MO and if someone breaks into my house or even opens the door, I have a few dogs that would persuade him/her to back off. That would be followed by me or my wife pointing a 9mm or .357 magnum at him/her and that “should” persuade him/her to stop. Then we would wait until the sheriff showed up and he/she would be arrested for trespassing along with breaking and entering. Unless he/she wanted to try to become aggressive first. In that case, we would wait until the coroner and the sheriff showed up.

        • Runner says:

          Someone breaks into my house, the first thing and last thing they will be seeing is the flash from one of my AR-15’s.

          Seriously, some unknown person just came though a door, unknown intentions, I’m taking worst case situation and making my family and myself secure. Castle Law is here for a reason.

      • Difdi says:

        My home defense weapon of choice is a battle-ready European broadsword. At any range you’d reasonably use a sawed-off shotgun at, a skilled swordsman wielding a good broadsword is every bit as deadly as said shotgun, and at that range, sword or shotgun beats pistol 4 out of 5 times.

        Plus there’s the intimidation factor inherent to realizing someone is about to take a 3 foot long blade sharp enough to shave with and do unspeakable things with it. Guns are familiar to criminals, but a sword is a novel experience, and therefore a bit of a shock. People who aren’t trained swordsmen tend to drastically underestimate the effective range of a lunge, too…

        • roothorick says:

          Don’t taunt the monkey.

          Evoking primal fear in a person with a loaded firearm in-hand can only end with a fresh bullet wound for you. The higher-level decision-making processes in the criminal’s mind is thinking about avoiding jail, and may not be comfortable with killing. The instinctual trained monkey at the lower level is thinking about survival, is prone to violence, and has sufficient training to shoot you in the face at close range. No matter what happens, you want the former in control. Wielding a sword is not conductive to that goal.

      • MeowMaximus says:

        I was just about to post that if this had happened at my home, the person breaking in would have likely caught some lead moving at 2,000 fps. This insanity has to stop – and it won’t until our lawmakers introduce HEAVY penalties for the banks if they mistakenly foreclose, or attempt to foreclose – either directly or through an agent – on someones home.

    • Bort says:

      it is likely it will continue till it is more economical to wise up

  2. Turnabout is Flair Play says:

    I’ve never experienced foreclosure, so don’t have a whole lot of insight about it, but…

    Shouldn’t foreclosure actions such as this have some sort of oversight? I work in the property management industry (apartments, condos) and when someone is evicted, they must involve the police and marshals. Why is it different for foreclosures?

    And before someone says that it’d increase the amount tax payers have to spend to cover the added work by police/marshals, this should be billed directly to whoever is doing the foreclosure. So if Chase is wanting to do a foreclosure, they need to go to the courthouse, schedule the foreclosure, and pay the fee.

    Or am I way off base?

    • bastion72 says:

      Maybe Obama can make a position for it. Call it a Foreclosure Czar.

    • Spellchk says:

      Truth is it depends on the State. Some have more protections than others. I also managed property so I know the protections you are talking about. However it seems that the laws that were made to protect the renter do not translate to the bank/owner area. In many states, in some ways, its more like a bail bondsman and someone who skipped bail.

      Course even those states where they have awesome protections the banks still try to get away with what they can. Its up to the tenant to stick up for their own rights. Even when the banks get caught the fine or suit is just a drop in the bucket.

    • mrscoach says:

      This house wasn’t being foreclosed on yet. She is behind on payments, yes, but the bank claimed she had moved out and had the utilities turned off, so they had the right to change the locks, even without having possession or ownership of said property. She still lived there and still had current utilities.

      Whatever oversights that were or should have been in place were not a factor here, as they didn’t have the right to change the locks on the property yet, as there was no foreclosure.

    • LuckyLady says:

      It has to do with whether or not the property is located in a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure state.

      If you’re in a non-judicial foreclosure state, the premise is there’s a clause in your mortgage/security deed that enables the lender to take back the property you put up for collateral on the loan if you miss or are late on X number of payments and therefore foreclose on the property.

      If you’re in a judicial foreclosure state, the lender has to go to court, prove ownership of the property, etc before a judge will approve a foreclosure. This is much more akin to when you start the dispossesory/eviction process (quit or pay rent, service of papers, court hearing, etc). But not exactly the same because a foreclosure is on real property and an eviction is not.

  3. dosdelon says:

    If that guy had broken into the wrong house & the owner thought their life was in danger, the guy could have gotten a chest full of lead.

    • JixiLou says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking.

    • synimatik says:

      Agreed. If this ever happened at my house there would be one unhappy man with the cold steal of my shotgun violating his tonsils.

      • MKEgal says:

        No, no, no… that’s WAAY too close.
        With a long weapon like a shotgun, you want to stay at least 10-15′ away.
        Even with a pistol, more distance is better, so you have more time to react if the intruder trys to make a move on you.
        Besides, saliva is bad for steel.

    • dangermike says:

      So true. There aren’t many faster ways to stop a B&E than with a little S&W.

    • dg says:

      “He came in, I didn’t know who he was, he broke the lock, I feared for my life and shot him dead.”

      That happens once or twice, and Chase learns to do the job right…

      • Clumber says:

        And the next sentence after “i feared for my life.” should be, “And I will make no further statements and I do not consent to search or questioning without my lawyer present.”

        And yes, in our house too if someone was busting down our door they’d get high impact lead poisoning and then probably be gnawed on by a couple of our dogs. I would hope that both we and the lock-changer’s family would then sue the bank.

        Hypothetically.

  4. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    One of these banks is gonna get their asses handed to them both by the media and the law when the “foreclose” on the wrong person who happens to be heavily armed. Someone is going to end up very dead due to a “clerical error”…

    Banks have a right to foreclose, I am not arguing that. But the lack of due diligence on their part is unacceptable…the unfortunate thing that will come of this specific incident and the hundreds like it will be more government legislation, more government over site of private business matters.

    • Galium says:

      Banks are not that dumb. Most banks sub contract out the process so they will not be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. It will always be the sub contractor’s fault, just like the banks where not at fault with the housing market. In the dictionary under scum sucking parasitic leaches it say “see banker”.

      • Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

        Yes, but they are acting as an agent of the company. To the homeowner and Media, it is Chase/BofA/Whoever breaking into their house, not Bob’s Wrecking and Property Recovery Inc.

  5. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Couldn’t she press charges for breaking and entering?

    • chuckreis says:

      Yes.

      And she lawyered up so I am sure she will be paid nicely.

      • mrscoach says:

        You make that sound like a bad thing. In this case I think lawyering up is extremely important, as the bank is going to try to place all blame on the homeowner, who has lived in the house for 20 years and is actively working on getting a modification.

        These are your typical ‘bought a house they couldn’t afford’ people if they have lived there 20 years. Evidently something happened recently that they could not afford payments; something almost all of us can identify with.

        Lawyering up was the correct first step.

        • chuckreis says:

          It is not a bad thing at all. I probably would have called a lawyer as soon as I figured out what happened. I also would have pressed charges and demanded the guy be put in cuffs.

          Sure it was the bank at fault but he committed the act. The bank can bail him out and he can lawyer up and sue the banks.

          I hate lawyers but I hate banks much much more.

      • mythago says:

        YANAL.

    • drdom says:

      To charge the crime, it usually involves having the intent to commit a crime. The guy who came to change the locks might have knocked first, and avoided the problems that ensued. But he legitimately believed that he was acting on the wishes of the owner of the property, in this case, the bank. The lock guy is not the bad guy here. It’s the bank.

      • Tim says:

        Then there’s negligence. If the homeowner (note: the woman who is mentioned in the story, in fact, owns the home) could prove that the bank employee, or the bank itself, was negligent in breaking into her house, she could get the employee or bank convicted.

        It’s more likely, though, to end up in civil court, where things like “intent” don’t matter in the same way. She’ll probably get a small settlement and have to shut up about it.

        • kobresia says:

          She doesn’t really own the home until all liens against the property are satisfied. She is “in possession” of it as long as she honors her end of the contract to pay on the loan. Foreclosure is just repossession of real property. The article states she was behind on her payments and negotiating with the bank, but that isn’t binding…the bank still owns the property and can repossess it at any time.

          That said, though, it’s kind of bad that banks seem to be in a situation where, due to a dramatic rise in defaults, the mergers, and other chaos, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. They clearly need to overhaul the process, so that everyone in their organization is on the same page and so is the customer. What they have now is clearly rather ad-hoc and very disorganized.

          • jnads says:

            WRONG.

            She owns the property. The bank has a LIEN on the property. There are very specific legal procedures to foreclosing a property.

            She and the bank are effectively business partners on the house. She owns it, but the bank owns “stock” in it. They may or may not own a majority share, but they do NOT own the house.

            • H3ion says:

              In a deed of trust state, such as Maryland, the home owner actually conveys the property in trust to secure the debt. The idea was to eliminate the equity of redemption under a mortgage. However, by statute, the court has to confirm a trustee’s sale so there’s no effective difference…but there used to be.

          • Megalomania says:

            You are very confused about how a mortgage works. The deed is in HER name, but it’s collateral in an agreement between her and the bank. As long as she has the deed, she is the absolute owner.

          • psm321 says:

            You are very confused about what a lien is and how it works.

      • Pax says:

        Not in the United States.

        Intent, and actual commission of a crime, are two separate things. I know in the U.K. you must prove intent TOO, but here in the States? You can unintentionally break the law, and still get bagged for it.

        • drdom says:

          Intent is a key element in charging many crimes. And many American laws had their origins or foundation in English common law.

          This incident occurred in Florida.

          The Florida burglary statute states that a person is guilty of burglary by:

          1. Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or
          2. Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:
          * Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;
          * After permission to remain therein has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit an offense therein; or
          * To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony

          In all cases intent is a requisite element in charging the crime.

          • Aaronjk says:

            Intent is no longer required in all crimes. People get charged with manslaughter for ACCIDENTALLY killing someone through neglect. Usually it’s because they’re idiots. No intent.
            If someone gets killed breaking into the wrong house for a bank then the bank needs to be charged with negligent homicide.

          • Pax says:

            Not in this ine:

            * To commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony

    • Hungry Dog says:

      With the “Make my Day Law” this wouldn’t be a concern where I live.

  6. Hoss says:

    What a crazy event. I am glad for her and the bank’s henchman that she didn’t have access to a gun

    • MKEgal says:

      You’re glad she didn’t have a gun???
      This could have turned out to be another home invasion robbery/rape/murder, which she could have stopped by having a gun.
      It’s only dumb luck that the man breaking down her door was a (relatively) benign rather than violent criminal.

    • Difdi says:

      Why is it good for her to be unarmed? If she had been armed and had shot the guy, it would be legitimate self-defense. Which is not a crime.

  7. Alexk says:

    What I don’t understand is this: why aren’t these people being arrested?

    “I thought it was okay” is not accepted by cops in most instances. That’s for the justice system to work out. Why are these breaking-and-entering bank clowns getting a free pass?

    • Commenter24 says:

      Cops don’t matter. Prosecutors matter. And it’s unlikely that the prosecutor can prove the requisite intent to convict someone in these cases.

      • Spellchk says:

        Ya there really isn’t a need to arrest and put this guy in jail. If he did something criminal like drag her into the street, something that wasn’t his job, then sure put him in jail. Its the employer that did not do due diligence and thus was negligent.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Yet, they never suffer any real harm as a result.

          • Spellchk says:

            Yup and it really isn’t fair. Maybe this crap will muster up the contempt and political will to change the laws. Would be nice to know that the people working for companies face the same justice as those they hurt.

        • corkdork says:

          “I was just following orders” isn’t a defense in court. For example, as my username suggests, I sell alcohol for a living. If my boss orders me to sell to someone I know to be underage, I have to refuse (by law), as the person who will be arrested and prosecuted for it is me, not my boss.

          Similarly, being ordered by a bank to break into a property without due diligence of making sure the bank owns the property (hint: deeds are public, and online!) means you get to take the fall for breaking into the wrong house, or a house that the bank does not, in fact, own.

          • Spellchk says:

            Yes if you knowingly sold liquor to miners then yes you would and should be arrested. However if you sold it to someone by order of your boss trusting that he checked his facts then he would lose his liquor license and you would get a slap if anything. However the two are not in the same category and not a fair comparison.

            • GearheadGeek says:

              Why shouldn’t miners be able to legally buy alcohol? Provided they’re not minors, of course. It’s even more amusing considering your username.

              • Spellchk says:

                Thats how I got my username back in the old BBS days of Telnet. =) But lets be serious, if your under age or working underground with explosives and dangerous machines then you shouldn’t have booze.

      • corkdork says:

        Check the statute — 810.02(3): Burglary is a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if, in the course of committing the offense, the offender does not make an assault or battery and is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and the offender enters or remains in a:
        (a) Dwelling, and there is another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains;
        (b) Dwelling, and there is not another person in the dwelling at the time the offender enters or remains;

        Note that there’s no requirement for an additional crime (theft, assault, etc) under the statute.

        Were I the homeowner, I’d be pressing charges, and suing the bank…

        • drdom says:

          Suing the bank is fine. This is what is called a tort. There is a civil course of action.
          There is, however, no criminal offense here. The person who went to change the locks legitimately believed he was legally entitled to be where he was and also believed he was acting on the direction of who he believed to be the rightful owner of the property.
          The banks’ mistake does not create criminal intent on behalf of the lock person. There are entire classes of crimes where a required element in charging one with a crime is intent. Some of those same offenses also recognize mistake as a legitimate defense.
          The lock guy was just doing his job. The bank is very likely liable in civil court. But the lock guy didn’t wake up that morning and say, ” I want to go break into the wrong house”. The bank gave him the wrong house. If anything, the lock guy might also have a course of action against the bank.

          • Alexk says:

            We need an additional meme here to match “you are not a lawyer.”

            You are not a COP either. You’re not supposed to try the case in your head before making an arrest for an obvious breaking and entering.

            • Spellchk says:

              Yes they are. As a matter of fact they have whole classes at the police academy that will teach exactly that. An officer is suppose to assess the situation and figure out what is in the public interest. Which is why officers will let a drunk walk home instead of arresting him on the spot for being intoxicated in public. If an officer can reasonably assess the bank employee in this instance as not a threat to public safety then there is no reason to take up valuable jail space. He can then write a citation or report and allow the civil courts to do the work they are supposed to do.

              • sqlrob says:

                “Which is why officers will let a drunk walk home instead of arresting him on the spot for being intoxicated in public.”

                *snork*.

                You haven’t seen the crackdowns here where they do just that.

            • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

              Whoa. Cops aren’t supposed to know the law? That’s a scary world you’re setting up for us there.

              • Alexk says:

                I didn’t say cops aren’t supposed to know the law. I said they’re not supposed to decide, absent evidence, that this guy would get off in the courts, so they needn’t arrest him. The act IS breaking and entering.

                • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

                  Absent evidence that he hadn’t committed a crime? In American courts of law, you have to be proven guilty. Evidence collection and that initial determination is still made by the police, and I don’t want to live in a country where the policy is, “Arrest first, ask questions later.”

                  The situation isn’t ideal, but getting all arresty on everyone isn’t going to solve the problem. The solution is fines, big ones, levied against the banks, and liability if the lock-changer is hurt by a scared homeowner.

                  • Alexk says:

                    Absent evidence of what? A criminal tresspass? We’ve got that. It seems like some here are willing to go with the “if the bank says it’s okay, tresspass, breaking and entering are all legitimate” — EVEN IN STATES WHERE IT IS NOT. In many states, it is illegal to break in to change a lock on an occupied residence. To say, “Well, the guy didn’t check, so that law is moot” doesn’t really fly. There IS intent here.

                    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

                      Once again, “Criminal trespass” implies “criminal”, and once again criminal intent is necessary. And it is illegal in many states if the house is occupied- it’s also illegal to speed. What’s the response when speeding? A ticket. There are still criminal offenses which are not arrestable. It may be illegal, but what’s the applicable penalty under the law for that?

                      Your indignation serves no purpose because even if you did throw the contractor in jail, who have you deterred from what? A contractor still isn’t the best person to be finding out who foreclosed what where. All you do there is mainline responsibility away from the banks.

                    • Alexk says:

                      Okay, the next time you’re caught speeding, try saying, “I didn’t know it was a crime here.” I’m sure you won’t get a ticket.

        • Spellchk says:

          Yes but that does not take into account intent. A prosecutor would take into account intent. If there was no intent to commit a burglary then there is no public interest to charge the person with burglary. Just as if a plumber was dispatched to a house to dig up a sewer line but instead dug up the neighbors line. He and his company would be responsible for the damages but would not be arrested.

          • AnthonyC says:

            There is no public interest in preventing individuals breaking into homes without checking to see if they are occupied, just because their employer told them to?

            I’d hate to live in your society.

            • Spellchk says:

              He wont be prosecuted so… you do live in my society unless you are posting from out of the U.S.

              • Difdi says:

                This is why I own a deadly weapon for home defense. If someone intends to break in, they had best shout something like “Police! Warrant!” before they kick the door in, because they won’t have time to afterward. My home defense weapon is a three foot broadsword, I keep it in an umbrella stand next to my favorite chair.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Who? Who would you indict? Corporations are largely un-indictable, and the person they hired wasn’t knowingly engaged in a criminal act. It’s one thing to hitman to kill your wife, it’s another thing to hire a piano mover to push a piano off the roof at the exact place your wife will happen to pass through at 5:30 PM. In this case the person doing the lock breaking is a pawn, and the person who hired him enjoys the immunity from true criminal prosecution that comes with being a non-human entity.

      • Alexk says:

        “I didn’t know it was a crime” is not a “get out of cuffs, free” slogan for anyone else, is it? If the guy is arrested and, after they sort it out down at the station, they drop charges, that’s fine. But if somebody breaks into my house, I don’t expect the cops to say, “Well, he says he thought it was legal, so we’re not arresting him.” And in any other case, he WOULD be arrested.

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          But it’s not, “I didn’t know it was a crime.”

          It’s, “I wasn’t, to my knowledge, committing a crime.” Intent is required in criminal prosecution, unlike civil. If you’re speeding, you can’t plead ignorance of the law, if you park in a handicapped zone where the signage and marking is faded beyond recognition, you can plead ignorance of the circumstances. The banks were negligent, yes. But criminal negligence and negligence aren’t the same thing.

          • knoxblox says:

            That said, any average Joe (not affiliated with the bank) would be most likely cooling his heels down at the station when caught breaking and entering until the police could clear up the situation, especially if the homeowner didn’t know who he was.

            On the other hand, a bank doesn’t exactly have wrists you could slip handcuffs over, either.

            In my opinion, shoddy paperwork seems to be a flimsy pass for the banks. If they’re going to play tough, then so should public law enforcement. Fines should be levied for serious mistakes like these. After all, the banks seem to think a $35 overdraft fee is serious enough to make a stink…

    • raybury says:

      Because police SWAT teams do the same thing way too often.

  8. massageon says:

    My Husband and I just purchased a short sale home that was very close to going into foreclosure status. In the 3 weeks we’ve lived there, we have had at least 3 different people from banks and other foreclosure “assistance” places knock on our door. We even found one in our backyard taking pictures of our property. It seems that Bank of America has been slow to take the newly purchased property off their list of foreclosure status houses. I wouldn’t be suprised if something like this happened to us now, even after the property has been purchased. It’s scary!

    • bravohotel01 says:

      Invest in firearms.

    • markmark says:

      We purchased a foreclosure. We actually had a couple walk in our house while we were painting. We had owned it for a week. I told them they were trespassing and to please leave, we were the new owners. They then showed me some list a company had sent them on foreclosures. I told them they should be very careful walking into homes uninvited.

  9. tungstencoil says:

    I live in Texas.

    He would very, very likely be dead.

    • SJPadbury says:

      It certainly is strange you don’t see these stories coming from Texas, isn’t it…? ;)

    • gharkness says:

      I see I missed your comments before I added mine. Yes, Texas definitely has its advantages – one of them being the Castle Law.

      • bluevideo says:

        Florida’s Castle Doctrine is every bit as strong as Texas’. Forcible entry into your own home, in and of itself, legally creates a presumption that he is there to cause you death or bodily harm, and allows you to use deadly force. The perception that more homeowners in Texas have firearms (true or not?) must be largely cultural…

        • evnmorlo says:

          Wonder what happens when police use a “no-knock warrant”…

          • Wrathernaut says:

            No-knock warrants are used when it would be even more dangerous to announce their presence – giving time to the occupants to get their guns ready. You’re not going to do it without full gear on to protect against an armed occcupant.

            • MrEvil says:

              The thing is, even the body armor used by SWAT only protects the wearer from handguns and buckshot. Deer slug and rifle rounds would easily pierce their body armor. And SWAT makes mistakes big-time with those no knock warrants. I think there’s at least one instance of a home-owner shooting at the police and wounding an officer and the home-owner being killed.

          • The_IT_Crone says:

            Then the people inside die, because the cops have numbers, surprise and body armor as advantages.

    • MrEvil says:

      I have a friend that would have most certainly put a few shots of 00 buck through the door before the guy had a chance to finish.

    • newfenoix says:

      I agree. I live in Texas and am originally from Arkansas which is another state that this crap is
      very unlikely to happen. I did have some idiot think that he had a repo order on my wife’s Durango. Impossible because it was bought with cash when her late husband died. The police resolved the situation…well, I did have him at bay with a shotgun.

  10. sp00nix says:

    Has anyone been shot over this?

  11. gharkness says:

    Apparently this didn’t happen in Texas? Too bad. A funeral might get someone’s attention. How can anyone think that this is okay?

  12. Joe-TFW says:

    The banking industry is completely out of hand. Until someone steps in and makes the foreclosure process 100% transparent, then this type of stuff will happen over and over and over for years. The longer this goes on, the better the chance one of these things is going to end in tragedy.

  13. drburk says:

    I cannot bare to think what would happen if this happened to most of the people I know. At best this guy would have been hit over the head with the butt of a gun at worst he would have been shot.
    Banks have to get their records straight before the whole foreclosure bubble bursts. It cannot be long until people willing start missing payments to test who owns and what documents exist on their mortgage.
    I have a friend who was attempting to reduce her expenses and sought the help of a financial planner. He reviewed all her documents (loans, pay package, monthly bills etc) he had a question about her mortgage so he called up the bank. No one could tell him what her interest rate was so he requested a few documents. As it turns out most of her paperwork was gone so they bank couldn’t show proof of a loan, including what her payment was and how much she owed. Needless to say a lawyer was brought in and to keep the deal out of the media a deal was struck which involved her owning her house free and clear. Kind of makes me want to try the same thing.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Reminds me of when I had a knew someone who wanted to close an account related to his home, but the bank refused, insisting that the account was required per the deed of trust. I called for the person I knew and when the rep gave me that line, I asked her to read to me exactly what the deed of trust said. Silence. The she said she didn’t have a copy there, but that it *must* say the account was required that if that’s what everyone else had told him. We got off the phone to plan our next step, but the next day the account the closed and the bank sent him the money.

  14. sqeelar says:

    Sounds like someone’s bank is — Too Big to Succeed. Someone had an address, and probably a phone number. Someone probably signed an affadavit under penalty of perjury that the house was in fact in foreclosure.

    I’m sure the city likes to send cops out for free to deal with a potentially deadly situation caused by the bank. Maybe a $1000 service charge to the bank for each mistake like this, plus an amount equal to 6 months mortgage would compensate for being terrorizes by institutional home invasion.

    Perhaps the police department offers a course in home protection with a loaner hand gun for just such a recurring mistake.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      I have a better idea. Isn’t this not break and enter? The police can arrest the guy breaking the lock for B&E, have said guy, under penalty of misrepresentation (i.e. more time in the clink), tell the cops who he’s working for, then arrest the bank’s CEO as an apprentice to commit a felony. That oughta make sure the bank gets their facts straight. Then have the homeowner sue the bank for everything they’re worth.

  15. Gravitational Eddy says:

    It’s good she didn’t shoot first. Nobody needs to live with the guilt associated with a wrongful death, even if instigated by a clerical error.
    That being said, banks aren’t being held to same level of responsibility that individuals are, even though the bank has a higher standard of proof.
    Papers can be faked and certain events can be socially engineered for outcomes that are desirable. The net result is that the bank gets the process started, and then waits for the outcome to settle out. Lawyers get a little richer filing statements and if it gets ugly, are already on the case (and familiar with it) and ready to start making motions.
    I believe that -all- banks should have their own internal (and required by law) bonding on -all- mortgages, silmilar to homeowners title escrow, that would cover any and all errors the bank (or it’s agents) make when working on a troubled mortgage or in a default mortgage situation.

  16. TPK says:

    Lucky to be alive… and pretty dumb for not at least knocking first. I wonder if locksmiths who work for banks are considered hazardous duty risks? Maybe just the stupid ones.

  17. RandomHookup says:

    Imagine you come home from work and find the locks all changed. I’m just wondering what you can even do to fix the problem. Call the police? I’m sure they’ll laugh at you. Maybe get a locksmith out…but he’ll be suspicious. Break in? Neighbors call the cops.

    • webweazel says:

      That’s why we love our neighbors. If someone was whacking away on the locks of our front door, it would probably be a matter of minutes before they were tackled and hog-tied on the lawn, with probably a .45 pointed at them while the cops are called. If they did happen to change the locks without anyone knowing, our neighbors would be the first ones over with the glass cutters, and a loan of their Dobermans and shotgun for a week or so. They would probably fix the window for us afterward, too.

      Trying this kind of breaking-in is just asking for trouble. Eventually, someone WILL get their face full of lead.

  18. oldwiz65 says:

    Typical of banks. They know full well that they are totally immune to any prosecution from the civil authorities, either because no crime can be proven or because they pay enough money to the right people to get things swept under the rug.

    No bank worries at all about anything like this; it’s just part of business and no one will remember it later. How many people really find out about it and what can they do about it? It’s bad publicity, but it will be forgotten.

    In states with home is castle or self defense, the people breaking in fully deserve a bullet or an unfriendly discussion with a few large german shepherd dogs. The people doing the work don’t really give a d*** as to whether they go to the right house or even if it’s valid; they are only doing what they are told to do. Although this didn’t work at Nuremburg, they will get away with it now.

  19. Bodger says:

    Is it a requirement that one be a bumbling idiot to work for a bank or does it just happen so frequently by accident? Coincidence only go so far as an explanation.

  20. travel_nut says:

    If someone broke into my house while I was home, they would be lucky to escape without being shot. I have a .22 shotgun in the bedroom, and if I’m home alone I keep my .38 revolver in the room with me.

    • SonicPhoenix says:

      .22 is a caliber for rifles and handguns. Are you talking about a 410 ga shotgun which is roughly the same diameter bore as a .22 calibur barrel?

  21. Extended-Warranty says:

    Yes this is a broken process and needs to be fixed. I agree that the police should be involved and all paperwork should be readily available, etc etc.

    But why do so many people agree that we should shoot/KILL the people who are doing their job? I sure hope I don’t inconvenience the wrong person…

    • Anathema777 says:

      Most people aren’t saying we SHOULD shoot these people, but that it’s a definite possibility that one of these people could have been shot. If someone thinks a person is breaking into their home, there’s a chance they’ll shoot them in self defense.

    • Thorzdad says:

      Probably because the banks (and other such corporations) act with such impunity and arrogance that, quite literally, it’s coming to a point where only bloodshed is probably going to force any changes. Maybe?

    • travel_nut says:

      If someone breaks into my home, that is a threat to myself and my child. People don’t break into a house to sit and have tea with you; people break into your house to harm you. I’m a woman, and not particularly strong. If someone breaks in, I’m not going to say “Oh hello, are you here for a legitimate purpose, or do you plan on hurting us?” And the person breaking in is not going to inform me either “I’m here to rape you and steal your stuff” or “Don’t worry, I’m not actually going to hurt you.” If someone breaks in, they are automatically a threat, and I have the right to defend myself. And my gun is my defense of choice.

    • MKEgal says:

      “why do so many people agree that we should shoot/KILL the people who are doing their job? I sure hope I don’t inconvenience the wrong person”

      Why doesn’t the bank, or even the person breaking into the home, worry about who they’re inconveniencing?? And yes, since the bank had no legal standing to change the locks, let alone destroy property, the person who authorized the B&E as well as the locksmith involved should be criminally charged.

      The lock-changer had no legal right to be on her property, let alone breaking into her house, so I see no reason she should not treat him like any other criminal who’s just broken in. Courts have ruled that police can consider burglars to be dangerous & have weapons; why can’t I?

      As others have said, if someone breaks into my home I’m pretty sure they’re up to no good, and they are going to be treated accordingly. If I’m in a good mood, not frightened awake, I might give him the opportunity to leave with the police in good health.

      In my house, at the very least he’d be held at gunpoint for the police. Most likely, he’ll pick up the phone & call police himself, at gunpoint. He can sit and whine all he wants about being sent by the bank, as long as he doesn’t move other than to breathe.

  22. dush says:

    It’s still breaking and entering though. The guy can’t claim ignorance as a defense.
    And the bank should also be liable for hiring someone to go break into her house.

  23. JohnDeere says:

    someone is gonna have to get shot b4 anything gets done. and then i really wonder…….

  24. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Somehow, I don’t think she’ll be behind on her payments after this….and the settlement for the mistake.

  25. edrebber says:

    Breaking and entering is a crime unto itself. There doesn’t need to be any other criminal intent involved. Once this guy entered the house, he could have lawfully been killed by the homeowner.

  26. Plasmafox says:

    If a large man started trying to break down my door, I mean, I’m a fairly big guy, but I would be concerned for my life. Concerned enough that as I reached for my phone to dial 911 my other hand would be busy finding a weapon. Burglars don’t usually bust down doors, it makes too much noise. So I would be thinking about defending my life against a violent armed man. If he set one foot inside I wouldn’t have the luxury of thinking twice about it.

    There’s alot of people like me, in every state in the union. And there aren’t alot who would vote “guilty” either. These banks need to understand the actual things they are doing, they’re playing with people’s lives. That poor guy they had do it was probably just some schmuck repo guy who didn’t know they gave him a bad job, and he could have easily gotten shot for it.

    • Ragman says:

      Actually, burglars do kick in doors. Every house in my area that’s been broken into had a door kicked in. Some had the phone and electrical lines chopped first, but nobody’s busted a window out yet.

      Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the majority of houses here have alarms, and going in through a door gives you a 2 minute delay on the alarm, where the window opening is an immediate alarm.

  27. banmojo says:

    Not knowing this man’s intent, and given my obligation to protect my wife and son from harm, I would have put him down at the door step, and as my state is one of the 31 states that has a ‘castle doctrine’ in place I would have been 100% within my rights. I’m not suggesting I would want to do such a thing, but my family will always come first, even if it means I have to go to court to defend my actions used in protecting them.

    This door-breaking agent of the bank in question is one lucky sob to be alive today, imo.

  28. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I would have called 911 and had a baseball bat, hammer, or knife with me to hit the intruder as soon as the door opened. I would certainly not alert the intruder I was there or I would lose the element of surprise in case they were armed. Hopefully the barking of my dog would scare them off before they started cutting the locks off though.

    I dont answer the door for people I am not expecting (and I doubt I am alone in that) for my own safety so knocking wouldn’t have helped either. They need to post notices on the door that licks well be removed in X days.

  29. mcgyver210 says:

    If a bank made a mistake like this with me it wouldn’t have ended with me or my wife in a bathroom scared. It would have ended with one of us being in fear of our lives which is the key wording needed for deadly force here.

    This will not stop until someone is hurt or killed in the illegal entry I just hope it isn’t the victim first.

  30. Pax says:

    This is why homeowners shoudl also be firearm owners.

    Someone kicks in my door? Double-tap, BAM, BAM … then dial 9-1-1 and get them an ambulance. Or a coroner, if I aimed well enough.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      You and I agree! But be careful with postings quite so direct. We can only stop the threat. Shots to center mass do an excellent job. Anything with different intent could get us prosecuted.

      IANAL, etc…

  31. runswithscissors says:

    91 comments and no one has blamed the homeowner for being behind on her payments yet! Kudos, commenters!

    • JohnDeere says:

      so what. being behind had nothing to do with the breaking and entering.

    • MKEgal says:

      She’s like millions of other people across the country who are struggling with the bad economy. Besides, she was working with the bank to try to solve the problem. The bank screwed up in authorizing the B&E.

    • TasteyCat says:

      Exactly. 4 months behind on her payments. Hardly an innocent victim.

  32. Smiling says:

    I’m a Realtor in Florida dealing with short sales/pre-foreclosures (behind with their mortgage) every day. In almost 100% of instances, if a house we’re trying to short sell is empty, the bank/lienholder will ‘break in’ and change the locks ahead of foreclosure – even when they’re actively working on a short sale with the seller. Their reasoning – to secure their collateral. We usually find out when someone tries to show the house and the key in the lockbox doesn’t work. Banks do what they want and make the rules up as they go. Sad, but true.

    • newfenoix says:

      The key word here being “empty.” I seriously doubt that you would attempt this with a occupied home.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Glad you posted this. We never did understand why a house we were looking at couldn’t be opened by the realtor.

  33. Galium says:

    The part that gets me is the person who was changing the lock. Personally if I had that job I would not take the banks word that it was empty. I would knock several times just to avoid such a situation. It would take only a couple of minutes.

  34. Wolfie XIII says:

    They should be glad it wasn’t my home. If thier goons tried to bust down my door while I’m home they would be shot dead. And thankfully thier are still some civilized places in the USA that support your ability to defend your home against intruders as such.

  35. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Wow, scary. I’d have called 911 too. How was she to know who it was or why they were there?

  36. RanChan03 says:

    man she could’ve killed the guy who broke in. It’s perfectly legal. Self defense and all that :)

  37. RanChan03 says:

    So my question is what if she killed the people that broke into her home.

    I don’t think she could’ve gotten in trouble for it since they broke into her house and it is deemed self defense.

    Egg on the bank’s faces and on the contractor’s supervisor faces if that happens.

    Bet they wouldn’t see that coming.

  38. Razor512 says:

    She should have hid by the door and the moment the person stepped foot through the door, knock them over the head as hard as you can with the hardest and heaviest object that you can use, then call the police. She wouldn’t get into any trouble because the persons actions were that of a criminal. and by law you have a right to defend your home. But the worker will get paid leave, causing the bank to lose money as they pay medical and other expenses.

    After this happens enough, banks will think twice before taking advantage of people.

  39. lawgirl502 says:

    holy law suit

  40. Urgleglurk says:

    He’s lucky that he didn’t get shot. This time.

  41. MacUser1986 says:

    “This is an absolutely terrifying phenomenon.”

    Yeah, this definitely qualifies as an absolutely terrifying phenomenon. *rolls eyes*

    Lawyers are such scum…