KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Trespassing? Burglar argues for open-house loophole

A man accused of burglary at real estate open houses argued in court that it's not trespassing when homes are open to the public.

A burglary conviction requires the proof of trespassing.

However, an appeals court judge in Ohio this week tossed out the man's argument, upholding the burglary convictions of a lower court. The judge said that Michael L. Shipley did trespass at the real estate open houses because he used deception to enter the homes.

"We find a reasonable jury could infer that [Shipley] had the intent upon entering the homes to commit a criminal offense and gained access to the homes through exercising deceit," the judge wrote. Shipley "deceived the [real estate professionals] by withholding information and feigning interest in the homes."

Shipley has been accused of distracting real estate professionals during five open houses that took place in August 2011. Agents allege that he would distract them with small talk or physically place himself in the line of sight to obstruct their view while a female accomplice would enter bedrooms and steal jewelry at five open houses.

In September 2111, Shipley was convicted on five counts of burglary and three counts of theft. He has been on house arrest while appealing the court's decision.
Following the recent ruling, prosecutors filed a motion to order Shipley to begin serving the 12-year prison sentence a judge had ordered last fall. However, Shipley's attorney has asked for another delay in the sentence while he and his client appeal the judge's decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Top Stories

  • New Look
    The Seattle Police Department unveils new uniforms, logo

  • 'It Was My Turn'
    K.J. Wright has signed a $27 million, four-year extension with the Seahawks

  • Holiday Map
    Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Listen to the show
Hear Real Estate Today on KIRO Radio
Join Tom Kelly every Sunday at 9am on KIRO Radio to talk Puget Sound real estate.

Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.