Police: Man dressed like woman attacks real estate agent
It's an unassuming house on the busy Sugarloaf Parkway listed for nearly $6,000. Police said a man had contacted an agent for the last couple of days about seeing the home and was already there when she arrived.
"What she did notice about the suspect was he was a male wearing women's clothing and a woman's wig," said Cpl. Michelle Pihera with the Gwinnett County Police Department.
She also said the agent let the wigged man view the home alone while she stayed outside.
Police said after the man viewed the home, he stepped outside, and started physically assaulting the agent on the porch. They said the real estate agent escaped and flagged down a motorist who called 911.
"I don't know why specifically this suspect targeted her or if he was just targeting any real estate agent," said Cpl. Pihera.
Real Estate companies across metro Atlanta received an alert shortly after the attack.
Lawrenceville broker Myra Lewis Williams, with three decades experience, said rule number one for agents staying safe is to pay attention.
"If your gut says something is wrong you listen to it," said Myra Lewis Williams.
She advised agents to always screen potential customers, to leave doors open when showing a home for an easy escape, and if concerns come up, don't go alone.
"I would encourage everybody that can take somebody with you but let them know, you say we'll be there," said Williams.
She was relieved to hear the alleged attacker, identified by police as 38-year-old Jeffrey Shumate, was arrested later. He was charged with false imprisonment, battery, and aggravated assault.
Williams said she went through a close call years ago and suspects the victim is reluctant to return to work.
"It's the worst feeling in the world I can understand that she wouldn't that be a hard thing to do," said Williams.
An agent working with the realty company which listed the home said the victim was physically okay, but emotionally shaken.