Crime

Foreclosed Home in Chandler Stripped of Fixtures by Owner, Cops Say; Man Faces Fraud Charges

 

It's one thing to "just walk away" from that upside-down mortgage and let your home sink into foreclosure.

Some folks, though, like to hitch up a flatbed trailer and drive away with every toilet seat, cabinet, and AC unit.

Chandler police say that's what Daniel Clark, 35, tried to do with his former home near Willis and Dobson roads. The bank had taken Clark's home, assessed at just under $300,000 for 2011, through foreclosure and was preparing to sell it on Friday.

Clark and his relatives were dismantling the place last Thursday when a perturbed neighbor flagged down a patrol officer and snitched on him, police say. Detectives rolled up to the place at 2209 West Wildhorse Drive and caught Clark's relatives -- then Clark showed up to join the party. Cops arrested him on suspicion of defrauding a secured creditor and booked him into the county jail.

As these pictures show, Clark and his family had done a fairly thorough job of unhooking every last light fixture, door and countertop. Chandler Detective David Ramer tells New Times that Clark admitted to officers at the scene that he knew the place had been foreclosed. He had planned to replace the items with cheaper versions, he allegedly told police. Even if that's true, Ramer says, Clark would still be committing fraud.

 

"Once the home is foreclosed on, it's owned the bank and you can't take anything," Ramer says.

In fact, state law prohibits this kind of thing anytime a property changes hands or is contracted for sale. Of course, it's not surprising in these hard times that some people who lose their homes try to make a few illicit dollars by hawking crappers and hot-water heaters.

 

Images by Chandler Police

 

Last year, we told you about a local real estate agent, Kailash Bhatt, who was accused of stripping homes routinely. His trial, in case you were wondering, is scheduled to begin on February 24.

 

 

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern