Beware of the owners - they may be felons

OK, so maybe I’m a little naive, but just like most inspectors, I have developed a technique for inspections that has me do the same thing, in the same order in every house. That way you lessen the possibility of missing to do something.

One of the things that I do is prior to starting an inspection (in the truck) I tuck my cell phone and wallet into the bottom of one of my equipment bags. The particular bag I’m referring to today carries additional batteries, flashlights, several gauges (water pressure, humidity) a pocket PC, a sample back flow valve etc. etc. All of the equipment in the bag is backup stuff that I might need, but don’t want to carry around during the inspection itself.

I leave this bag along with other stuff just inside the front door.

On Wednesday, I inspected a house that had been re-built 2 years ago on the foundation of a home that had been gutted by fire. The owners or tenants (not sure which) had apparently not cleaned the house in the 2 years since it was built. It was a pig sty (and I’ve inspected some pretty gross places). During the inspection the power would cycle on and off - apparently they hadn’t paid their bills, so the power company only provides essential power - enough to keep the home heated and light a bit of the house. If I turned on more than a half dozen lights, the power would turn off.

Mom was yelling at the kids because they had eaten too much that day.

And they had this little dog that was into everything… nosed around in my equipment bags, ran underfoot for the first half hour… just a pain.

The homeowners (or tenants) were in the house during the inspection - four kids all under 16 (and not at school) and a mom - all in their pyjamas at 3:00 pm.

Long story short, we finished the inspection and I noticed that one of my equipment bags had been partially zipped shut. Oh, they were considerate, I thought… the dog was nosing in the bag and they wanted to prevent that.

Next morning I retrieve my wallet from the same bag and find that the cash (about $150) and my credit card are missing.

When I reported the theft to the bank, they advised that several hundred dollars worth of beer, liquor, gasoline and WalMart purchases had been made on the card. (They’re going to have a good Christmas)

OK so I was stupid to leave the wallet in the duffel bag - stifle your smirks you guys.

Didn’t make any money on that one…

Joe, sorry to hear about this happening to you. You are a stand up guy by allowing me to tag along when I started out for free and was always ready to offer advise, you did not deserve this. But that wallet can never leave your side sir , especially with a credit card in it. May you have a Merry Christmas anyway and may you be rewarded with an excellent 2009. P.S. alot of households like that here in the Hammer aren’t there.


Sorry to hear of your loss to the losers. If it were me, I’d be on their front door step the first chance I get.

Sorry about your loss…

WalMart and many gas stations have video that coinsides with the time of purchases that is recorded on the receipts. It may or may not be something the local gendarmes will follow up on but it would be great to procecute the thieves.

I’m actually not bitter and I didn’t mean it to sound so. No loss other than the cash. Mostly just a heads-up for the folks in the business.

Best wishes for the best of holiday seasons to all of my friends at InterNachi.

Similar situation happened to a friend of mine.

The Wal-mart camera clearly showed who used the charge card.
My friend was able to identify the perp and the matter was resolved.

Check if your Wal-mart has this setup.

Ouch! Condolences on the theft. I try never to leave my wallet anywhere, but wouldn’t have thought it would be vulnerable to the people living in the house I was inspecting. That just sucks. I usually worry about my tools when I’m in a house that has construction / paint / cleaning crews coming and going.

I would definitely think about reporting it to the police, especially if it is likely that there is video of the perp using the card at Wally World.

Hope the holidays treat you with better fortune.

Sorry for your loss, Joe. You’re one of the good guys and don’t deserve this.

Have a Merry Christmas anyway !!!

Bill Mullen

Joseph . . . sure wish to thank you for your comments, I’ve left my wallet in my bag as well . . . not any more, many thanks for your remarks . . . sorry about your loss and hope the this Holiday Season is the best one yet!


Sorry for your loss Joe!

This could happen to anyone of us, maybe not the wallet but certainly tools.
I hope this incident doesn’t put a damper on your Christmas or worse, for you to loose faith in your fellow human. Not everyone is like these people bro!

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!


Sorry to hear about this stupid thief.
Make sure the cops know about it. The cards can be used for further identity theft as well. CYA.
My sister got her wallet and ID stolen and the woman used it for 3 months before my sister took a cop to the store to make them stop accepting the card. She had already canceled the card and the store was still accepting it as it was small purchases. The woman had my sisters drivers license and was using it as photo ID.
The woman was black… my sister is white. Some stores the clerks are not paid to use the brain cells. Protect you identity.

Sorry to hear about the theft Joe.

Please do not let this get you down and have a Merry Christmas

Hi Joe,

That’s a bummer, it;s staggering that that would happen inside a home, I’m the same in terms of taking my wallet out of my pocket, but I always lock it in the car glovebox.



That is the best place for it… outta sight, outta mind!
Mine stays in a locked truck.

However if my wife wants it, it is my back pocket, and I give her about a half hour to feel it there…:mrgreen:

Time to move it to the front pocket!:mrgreen:

Sorry to hear about the lowlife stealing your cash and card Joe. My wallet never leaves my locked truck when I’m on an inspection. I’ve had my moisture meter and carbon monoxide meter taken from the back of my truck when I was foolish enough to trust everyone at an inspection.
All the best to you and yours.

next time tell me sooner…:mrgreen::mrgreen:

I am coming honey… (gotta go)