ONTD Political

Bank Accidentally Steals Woman's Belongings, Refuses To Make Restitution

12:40 pm - 07/24/2013
Vinton County Woman Wants Possessions Back After Bank Tried To Repossess Wrong House

MCARTHUR, Ohio - An Vinton County woman is looking to get her belongings back after a bank incorrectly broke into her house and took them.

Katie Barnett says that the First National Bank in Wellston foreclosed on her house, even though it was not her bank.

“They repossessed my house on accident, thinking it was the house across the street,” Barnett said.

Barnett, who had been away from the house for about two weeks, said she had to crawl through the window of her own house in order to get in after she used her own key that did not work.

Some of the items in her house had been hauled away, others were sold, given away and trashed.

It turns out the bank sent someone to repossess the house located across the street from Barnett’s house, but by mistake broke into hers instead.

“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett said. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”

She called the McArthur Police about the incident, but weeks later, the chief announced the case was closed.

Barnett said that according to the bank president, this was the first time something like this has happened.

She presented him with an $18,000 estimate to replace the losses, but the president refused to pay.

“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,’” Barnett said. “I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.”

The shock of having her house broken into and belongings taken by mistake has now turned into anger.

“Now, I’m just angry,” Barnett said. “It wouldn’t be a big deal if they would step up and say ‘I’m sorry, we will replace your stuff.’ Instead, I’m getting attitude from them. They’re sarcastic when they talk to me. They make it sound like I’m trying to rip the bank off. All I want is my stuff back.”

No one from the bank would go on camera with 10TV about the incident. The bank president told 10TV News that the bank is trying to come to terms with Barnett.

Watch 10TV News and visit 10TV.com for updates on this story.


So a bank can break into your house, change your locks, and steal your things even if you have nothing to do with them, and then not have to pay to fix their mistake. Good to know.
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effervescent 25th-Jul-2013 03:03 am (UTC)
JFC. I hope she keeps making a stink about this on social media, they'd be smart to realise just how bad this makes them look.
idemandjustice 25th-Jul-2013 03:09 am (UTC)
This is not the first time I've heard of something like this happening, and I'm desperately hoping that it's the same instance I've heard about before, and not that it's becoming horribly fucking common.
silver_apples 25th-Jul-2013 03:59 am (UTC)
The banks insist this is not common, but if you search on "wrong house foreclosed", you get a lot of results. This article says there are more than 50 lawsuits against the two biggest "property management contractors" (people the bank hires to handle securing the property). Sometimes they go to the wrong house, sometimes the paperwork is wrong, and sometimes everything is technically legal, but the homeowners are only a little behind and were given no warning about the foreclosure.

The worst part in all this is that in spite of the news stories and lawsuits, nothing has changed.
theguindo 25th-Jul-2013 03:28 am (UTC)

How the fuck do you not check the goddamn numbers on the house before you try to repossess it?
betray802 25th-Jul-2013 04:11 am (UTC)
The same way cops go to the wrong house and use "justifiable" deadly force, then act surprised when they're called on it. Being arsed to double-check is someone else's job.
silver_apples 25th-Jul-2013 03:39 am (UTC)
When a person gets drunk and/or confused and goes to the wrong house, and does nothing worse than sleep, they get charged with trespassing at the very least. Sometimes they get shot. These people broke into her house and stole or destroyed her possessions. They deserve to be in jail.

We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is

And if they were haggling at a flea market, I would agree with him. But in this case, yes, he should pay to replace everything he stole, and to repair any damage to the house, and probably offer a settlement on top of that, along with an actual apology.
sixdemonhag 25th-Jul-2013 05:23 am (UTC)
I think at that point I'd be adding in the cost of my emotional distress which would be substantial. I hate banks with a passion and I really hope she prevails in a big way here.
evildevil 25th-Jul-2013 04:15 am (UTC)
and no one is going to jail for this.
vulturoso 25th-Jul-2013 04:46 am (UTC)
Uh I honestly don't understand why they trashed some of it. Like, really?
moonecho 25th-Jul-2013 04:51 am (UTC)
I'm presuming they trashed a lot of her personal effects - knickknacks and other household goods that they wouldn't be able to sell. I'm sure $18,000 doesn't begin to touch on the sentimental value of what may have been lost.
moonecho 25th-Jul-2013 04:47 am (UTC)
Reprehensible. She's being extremely generous asking only for the funds to replace her things. I really hope this story will make the rounds in press and social media until they decide that having "professional assweasels" as their business reputation will cost them more than restitution and an apology. Because clearly, they aren't going to be decent people on a voluntary basis. :[
qable 25th-Jul-2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Doesn't this count as burglary? As I understand it, burglary is breaking and entering with the intent to do criminal activity such as theft. Her home was broken into, her belongings were stolen, and what wasn't stolen was essentially vandalized.
mandragora1 25th-Jul-2013 05:22 am (UTC)
There was no intent to undertake criminal activity, as the bank's representatives thought that they were lawfully foreclosing.

But their attitude towards compensation is reprehensible in the extreme - they should pay what is owed without argument (replacement value and not what the belongings would have fetched at auction, which appears to be what they're arguing for) and also compensation for distress IMO.
ohmiya_sg 25th-Jul-2013 05:07 am (UTC)
Disgusting. They're trying to haggle when they are 100% at fault.
theguindo 25th-Jul-2013 05:21 am (UTC)

I hope she writes her congressperson about this outrage and that said congressperson is boss enough to get some shit done on her behalf.
thelilyqueen 25th-Jul-2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see Elizabeth Warren tear into this bank, but she's busy trying to run herd on the whole industry. Stuff like this (mistaken foreclosures, property damage, etc.) would be a good target for future legislation on her part though.
wowsolovely 25th-Jul-2013 05:34 am (UTC)
What the fuck? She needs to sue them and get more than she asked for originally. What assholes.
saydeey 25th-Jul-2013 06:15 am (UTC)

muizenstaartje 25th-Jul-2013 08:37 am (UTC)
$18,000 is peanuts for a bank, but I guess they don't want to pay up or else they will have to pay for all the other "accidental foreclosures" that I'm sure have happened in the past and will happen in the future.

I can "understand" why the bank is being rubbish, but I don't get why the police closed the case. The bank had no right to have people enter the lady's home and take her stuff even if it was caused by a mistake.
anjak_j 25th-Jul-2013 11:41 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd be as forgiving as she tried to be by asking only for the money to replace those possessions that are replaceable - no amount of money can replace items that were of sentimental value to her.

As for the bank president saying, "We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is" - my response would definitely be: "I'm getting a lawyer to sue you fuckers if that's the way it is." And even if he offered the $18,000, I'd still sue the pants off the bank - they don't have a leg to stand on.
hermionemalfoy 25th-Jul-2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
Me too! I'm sure she's not going to let this go...right? Ugh. The bank should be sentenced with huge punitive damages to prevent them from being so cavalier in the future; 18k is not going to make them change even if she does get it back.
ntensity 25th-Jul-2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
I'm an attorney and I mostly represent banks in foreclosure cases and I have to say this does not surprise me one bit because I have seen strikingly similar actions in the cases I've worked on. I practice in New York so luckily there are a lot more protections for homeowners facing foreclosure than in Ohio and the majority of Judges truly loathe the banks and will do whatever they can to help out the borrowers -- and I completely understand why. These situations are not as uncommon as you might think.
synekdokee 25th-Jul-2013 01:32 pm (UTC)
I realise different states, different laws, but can you offer any insight on why they can refuse to reimburse the homeowner in cases like this? Or is it just a case of people not affording to litigate against banks?
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