2 Ohio real estate agents killed; another robbed UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Parole

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Normal 2 Ohio real estate agents killed; another robbed UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Parole

Post by TerryRose on Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:28 pm

KENT, Ohio (AP) — Two real estate agents were killed in vacant homes for sale and another was robbed all within a week, prompting frightened agents in northeast Ohio to cancel open houses and avoid meeting prospective buyers alone.

Two brothers were arrested Tuesday in the Sept. 15 robbery of a real estate agent who showed them an apartment in Boardman Township. Police were investigating whether the robbery is related to the first homicide in nearby Youngstown, but authorities said the investigation into the second death was focused on a person who is not one of the brothers.

Vivian Martin, 67, was found dead on the kitchen floor in a burning home Monday in Youngstown, said police chief Jimmy Hughes. An autopsy showed she was strangled before the home burned down, and the fire was ruled an arson.

The next day, the body of 51-year-old Andrew VonStein, who had been shot once, was found in a vacant white ranch-style house he was trying to sell about 40 miles west of Youngstown in a lakefront community near Kent State University.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak declined to identify the person at the center of the investigation into VonStein's death and would not call the person a suspect.

A connection to Martin's death and the robbery hadn't been ruled out, Doak said late Wednesday.

"A lot of agents are really scared and upset," said Suzanne Brown, an office coordinator at RE/MAX Valley Real Estate in Youngstown, where all 24 agents in her office have canceled open houses scheduled for this weekend. The office has stopped taking on new clients until police are confident that all suspects are in custody, Brown said.

Brown said she is reminding agents to take standard precautions when showing homes, such as not going into the house first and not bending down or turning your back to clients. Agents are also encouraged to meet new clients at the office, get identification and verify that they are preapproved for loans — all of which can help ensure that the potential buyers are serious and credible.

The woman who was robbed was showing a vacant apartment building in Boardman that was for sale. She was held at gunpoint, robbed of her purse and threatened with death if she called the police, Boardman police Capt. Donald Hawkins said. Her name was not released.

Paul Brooks, 27, and Robert Brooks, 25, were charged with aggravated robbery. They were being held in the Mahoning County jail and scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, Hawkins said. It wasn't immediately clear whether they had an attorney.

Paul Brooks was convicted in 2002 on a charge of false imprisonment in Richland County, Wis., and served one year in prison, Hawkins said.

Martin's body was found on a street filled with a mix of well-kept and rundown single-family homes, about two miles from the Pennsylvania border. She lived two blocks away.

A woman who answered the phone at Essence Realty, where Martin worked as a broker, declined to comment.

VonStein, a prominent real estate agent who had worked in the community for 32 years, was reported missing by his family when he failed to come home from work Monday night. Dennis Buffington, a landscaper working across the street from the home where VonStein's body was found, said he had not seen VonStein enter the house by the time he left at 5:30 p.m.

"People came there to plant the mums," he said, referring to purple and yellow flowers neatly planted along the driveway. "I'm sure they were doing that to show the house. They left before we did."

Police found VonStein using a tracking device in his car parked outside the tidy ranch home, which sits on half an acre of tree-shaded land with a swimming pool. Property records show the home, which sits across the street from a glittering lake, is worth about $235,000.

VonStein had a private real estate business for years and sold it several years ago to join Cutler Realty, where agents refused to comment on Wednesday. At his home in nearby Ravenna, his two grown daughters cried as they remembered him.

"He was my best friend, my mentor, my everything," said his daughter, Brooke. "He made me who I am today."

Brooke VonStein said her parents had returned from a vacation in Georgia on Saturday night.

"He went to work on Monday and never came home," she said.

VonStein often worked seven days a week, sometimes even selling houses while he was on vacation, his daughter said. He was active in his Catholic church and a member of several community organizations, including the Portage County Association of Realtors and the local Rotary Club. For years, he had been named the county's real estate agent of the year.

"It's just the oddest thing," said Judy VonStein, his sister-in-law. "The oddest thing. To know how much he is loved, that anybody would do this is very hard to understand."

———

Sheeran reported from Cleveland. Associated Press writer Matt Leingang in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

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Normal Re: 2 Ohio real estate agents killed; another robbed UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:35 am

My goodness..a person can't even just do their job w/out putting their life in their hands. This world is going to Hell in a handbasket!

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Normal Re: 2 Ohio real estate agents killed; another robbed UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Parole

Post by TerryRose on Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:29 pm

Warrant issued for a FLORIDA man in Ohio real estate agent's death:

CLEVELAND - A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Florida man in the killing of a Ravenna real estate agent whose body was found in a vacant home he was trying to sell.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak on Thursday said a murder warrant had been issued for 59-year-old Robert Grigelaitis of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in connection with the death of Andrew VonStein. The warrant was filed Wednesday with the Portage County Clerk of Courts.

According to the sheriff’s department, Grigelaitis may be driving a champagne colored 2007 Ford F-350 truck, with the Florida license plate 661XYL. Grigelaitis has blue eyes and salt and pepper hair. He is 5-foot-10 and weighs about 200 pounds.


Doak said Grigelaitis is a resident of Florida, but has been living in the area for the last seven months.

Doak also said that Grigelaitis should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

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Normal Re: 2 Ohio real estate agents killed; another robbed UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Parole

Post by HippieChick on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:00 am

I have always thought Real Estate agents showing homes was kind of dicey. My BFF was working in an apartment complex as the manager, sat in office alone all day, and was robbed and her wedding rings were taken. Many years ago in New Orleans area. She quit the job after that. She was a new graduate elemetry school teacher at the time looking for a teaching job but took the apartment manager job while looking.
Before I retired I was a home health nurse and often walked into a potential clients house to open or assess a case, and a few times was a little nervous. In the Baltimore area, a company I worked for had to send armed security in with every nurse visit. Mandatory.

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Normal UPDATE: Robert Grigelaitis Sentenced To Life In Prison With No Possibility Of Parole

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu May 16, 2013 11:14 pm



Robert Grigelaitis smiles as he listens to the victim impact statement given by Laura VonStein, the wife of murder victim Andrew VonStein, before Judge John A. Enlow as Grigelaitis sits next to his attorney Dennis Day Lager in the Portage County Courthouse in Ravenna, Ohio. Grigelaitis pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the killing of real estate agent Andrew VonStein and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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