Ahead of vigil for murdered Hampton Roads realtor, one agent talks realtor safety

Posted at 3:01 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 17:06:56-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Thursday evening, The Wave Nightclub in Norfolk will host a vigil for Soren Arn-Oelschlegel, who was killed in a murder-suicide in Portsmouth last Friday.

Arn-Oelschlegel, a realtor with Long & Foster, was supposed to meet with 84-year-old Albert A. Baglione after selling him a house two days prior. Baglione, who was allegedly displeased with his home purchase, then shot and killed Arn-Oelschlegel before killing himself.

"It is very shocking and sad when someone dies in your circle. We are all family," said Yvonne Covey, a real estate agent with Rose and Womble in Norfolk.

The death of the 41-year-old agent has sent shockwaves through the local real estate community.

"Whether you knew him or not, when something like this happens, you tend to go back and look over your own safety precautions," she said.

Crimes against realtors are not all that rare. According to a survey published last year by the National Association of Realtors, 23% of members reported working in fear.

In just a year, 60,000 members were reported to be victims of violent crimes against them, including assault, rape or even murder.

"When things happen we step back and think, What we could have done differently?" Covey said.

Covey, who's been an agent for four years, has a laundry list of things she and others do to protect themselves, whether it be at a showing or open house with a client.

"I always meet my client at the office or meet them in a public place first," she said. "I also make sure they are pre-approved. That way you know they are legit in looking for a home."

She told News 3 that when she's at a home, she always enters behind the client.

"Let them go first and go behind them, even if they go upstairs, so you know your surroundings at all times," Covey said.

She also carries protection.

"I have mace with me on my keychain at all times," she said.

Covey also says it's important to let several people know where you are and have them check in, and to always have an escape plan.

According to Covey, the lockboxes that realtors use to get in the properties also have an alert button on them for if the realtors feel they are in an emergency situation.

The vigil for Soren begins at 7 p.m. at The Wave Nightclub, located on Colley Avenue in Norfolk.