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Video: Realtor Accused of Stealing Homeowner’s Clothes

by ARLnow.com March 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm 50 Comments

(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A 60-year-old male real estate agent has been accused of stealing women’s clothing from a house that’s for sale in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Va. The alleged incident was caught on the homeowner’s video surveillance system.

Stephen Brumme, of Silver Spring, Md., was arrested and charged with burglary and possession of burglarious tools after a homeowner on the 4100 block of 11th Street N. approached police with the video. The homeowner — we’ll call him William (not his real name) — spoke exclusively to ARLnow.com last month on the condition of anonymity.

According to William, the incident took place on Saturday, Feb. 9, while he and his wife were out of town, participating at an out-of-state athletic competition.

Stephen Brumme (photo courtesy ACPD)Brumme entered the house legally and signed in as a real estate agent, in advance of a client showing up to tour the home, but is seen on a surveillance camera going through what William said is his wife’s clothing, in a bedroom closet and a dresser. According to William, Brumme pocketed three of his wife’s shirts before the client showed up and Brumme is seen leaving the bedroom to answer the door.

William said he and his wife were “creeped out” by the video when they watched it.

“Our reaction was a feeling of being violated by a creep who wanted to go through our things,” he said. “I like to think that people are good, but often times they’re not.”

The video was recorded using a Dropcam, a camera that transmits and records video online via Wi-fi. William said the camera was in plain sight in the bedroom. He said the video also assisted him after he found a razor blade in his garbage disposal following some showings by other real estate agents.

Brumme was released on bail following his arrest. Police say his real estate license was “immediately suspended.” Cops are now asking other home sellers to come forward if they believe they might have been burglarized.

“His behavior leads us to believe there are additional victims,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “He went straight to the closet and the drawers. He knew exactly what he was looking for.”

Amy homeowner who believes they might also have been a burglary victim is encouraged to contact ACPD at (703) 558-2222, or Det. Timothy Parsons at (703) 228-4172 or [email protected]

Video and mugshot courtesy ACPD. Note: Sound might not be synced with video.

  • Gung Ho

    I feel like if you’re going to steal something, go for the good stuff. Who the hell steals 3 shirts?

    • spaghetti

      Maybe the guy is a cross-dresser?

      • Pierre

        That is what I was thinking

  • 5oShadow

    Is a razor blade in the disposal equivalent to sugar in a gas tank?

    • Buckley51

      More of a banana in the tailpipe kind of thing.

      • Joe Hoya

        Well, we ain’t going to fall for that.

  • Feel Estate

    Ballston is vibrant!

    • drax

      Time for a Realtor™ roundup!

  • malaka

    “burglarious tools” – would be an excellent band name.

    • dan

      It was one of the countries formed when the Soviet Union imploded….I am pretty sure.

  • wilson

    If posting a mugshot and name is questionable to some, what about a video? Is it necessary to say “allegedly” when the person is on video? What if the video is thrown out as evidence and the charges are dropped? Does it then mean he didn’t do it, despite the video existing?

    • Josh S

      Since we are ultimately talking about the law, then absolutely you still have to say “allegedly.” He’s innocent until proven guilty in a court.

      • well, son…

        Since you are concerned with concise language, you ought to have written “presumed innocent”. A person is guilty of a crime as soon they commit one, but presumed innocent by the court until they plead otherwise or are found to be guilty. The court never makes a person guilty or innocent, it merely finds them guilty or not.

        • actually, sir….

          Since you are concerned about language, you ought to have written “precise language,” not “concise language.” “Precise” means exact, whereas “concise” just means brief. You object not to the length of the phrase Josh used, but to its lack of precision.

  • QTR

    What an odd story. First, a razor blade in the disposal, and now, stealing? Why would a razor blade in the disposal prompt him to put a camera in his bedroom?

    • WoompaLoompa

      Is it really so hard to understand?

  • Josh S

    Now, did the ACPD come up with that one, or was it ARLnow? My money is ARLNow.
    (Yes, I know it’s a real word.)

    • CajunJ

      It’s Virginia statute. Possession of anything that could be used to faciliate a burglary. Like, having a crowbar. Or likely in this case, a Realtor’s lockbox key since the intent was to enter the home to bizarrely steal women’s clothing.


      • Josh S


      • Mike

        That is interesting. From the description in this article, it doesn’t sound like his primary intent was really to enter the home to steal – he was there to show the house to a client. He got there early, took a look around, and (bizarrely) took a few shirts. The theft seems more like an afterthought. But maybe it makes sense for the state to charge him with the “burglarious tools” count, just in case evidence comes in suggesting that his main intent all along was to steal.

    • Dan

      What part of “real word” are you having a problem with ??

  • G Clifford Prout

    Sentence him to 6 months in the S. Clark St. sauna.

  • Josh S

    A razor blade in the garbage disposal? How does one discover that? It makes a lot of noise, I guess? Maybe whoever put it there figured it was “disposable” so might as well put it in the disposal? Could it have been an accident? Why not?

    And why would it have “apparently” been placed there by another real estate agent? No one else had the motive and opportunity?
    And why, if it is two real estate agents, do they keep picking on this couple?

    • Gus

      It’s a bathroom garbage disposal, so I assume it’s a small one. If it’s empty or he places his used razors somewhere else he could’ve easily spotted it. The fact of the matter is that he started wondering about something when he saw something unusual, and acted accordingly. I would do the same, don’t forget, strangers in his unattended house all the time, everyday…

      • Josh S

        Bathroom garbage disposal? Why in the heck would you have a bathroom garbage disposal?

        • malaka

          I think it’s usually called a “toilet”

        • Gus

          I have one for, like, RAZORS, empty bottles or boxes etc.

          • Josh S

            You sure you’re not talking about a trash can?

          • El G

            I do not think “garbage disposal” means what you think it means.

        • McChipstah

          …could be a Seinfeld fan


    • Ouch

      I’ve never heard of this, but I’m guessing it’s just a malicious act by someone with an axe to grind (or a razor blade, as it were). My thought process is that it’d make a tremendous noise in there. And what do I do when something makes a horrendous noise in my disposal? Well of course I just shove my whole hand down in there and start feeling around blindly for anything that feels like it doesn’t belong. Put a razor blade in the mix? Yeah … lots and lots of blood.

      That’s one very sadistic (and very much pre-meditated) act IMHO.

  • willy

    Only in Washington DC, would a burglar constantly be checking his Iphone.

  • CajunJ

    Worth noting, his real estate license has not been suspended, yet. According the the Virginia real estate licensing authority (DPOR).

  • flux

    Razor blade was no doubt put there by a real estate agent who has a brother who does plumbing work on the side.

  • Dan Tansmith

    Something tells me he was sifting through the hamper as well. A few years ago we were selling our house and noticed things out of place and set up the laptop to record activity. We not only found a Realtor shifting through the hamper for my wife’s panties, but others that showed up for the open house. Caught one guy who was there two times. Both times he stole her panties. I would never ever have an open house without cameras

    • Pierre

      Wow! That must have been so creepy. Did you contact the real estate agency?

    • Guynarl

      There are ads on CL M4M for hook-ups in houses that a realtor has access to and that are uninhabited all the time . . .

  • McChipstah

    Just relieved he wasn’t recorded trying the wife’s clothing saying “Mother, please…!”

  • Tr0jan

    Nice way to retire, your family must be so proud!

  • Columbia Pikey

    That is one way to shop for your wife, “Honey, I found a good deal on shirts!”

  • bred

    This happened just around the corner from me. The 2nd TV crew that I have seen
    just arrived.

  • Just wow

    Wow. We removed jewelery and some other sensitive items from our last house prior to putting it on the market, but it never even occurred to me that some perv might go through my wife’s stuff for his jollies. Eww.

  • fedworker

    What’s up with the dude’s forehead?

    • AL


  • bancensorship

    Burglary? Seriously? Burglary requires breaking and entering. This man had lawful and legal authority and access to this dwelling. A burglary requires a breaking and entering element to establish that crime. This is simple petit larceny at best (not even grand larceny). Sure, he should be punished, but not for burglary. Burglary is supposed to be reserved for real prowlers who actually break and enter into peoples homes to commit felonies. It is pretty funny how the police over-charge people they know they cannot convict them of just to make themselves look good. They will have no choice but to reduce the charges to larceny in the end (when none of you all are paying attention anymore).

  • Captain Obvious

    Actually, he wasn’t charged with burglary. He was charged with a violation of § 18.2-91, “Entering dwelling house, etc., with intent to commit larceny, assault and battery or other felony,” which states as follows:

    If any person commits any of the acts mentioned in § 18.2-90 with intent to commit larceny, or any felony other than murder, rape, robbery or arson in violation of §§ 18.2-77, 18.2-79 or § 18.2-80, or if any person commits any of the acts mentioned in § 18.2-89 or § 18.2-90 with intent to commit assault and battery, he shall be guilty of statutory burglary, punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than one or more than twenty years or, in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, be confined in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or fined not more than $2,500, either or both. However, if the person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

  • Adam Dickerson

    Dear ARLnow.com or to whom it may concern:

    Are we certain that the accused was a “Realtor” as your story title states? I saw a report that said he was not, in fact, a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and therefore cannot be called a Realtor. I also searched the “find an agent” database on Realtor.com and could not find any listing for a Stephen Brumme.

    Would you kindly consider changing the title of your story to “Real estate agent accused of…”, instead of “Realtor accused of…”?

    Thank you and have a great day!


    Adam Dickerson, Associate Broker & REALTOR
    Jim Hall Real Estate
    Clinton, Maryland

    • Shawshank

      Adam, you’re not a DOCTOR. You sell HOUSES. Have fun working for Jim Hall the rest of your life 🙂

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