Thieves posing as potential home buyers targeting prescription medications in homes for sale

SAN DIEGO - The number of San Diegans selling their homes is on the rise. But before you hang that "for sale" sign in front of your home, 10News has a warning for you.

Many people hide valuables such as jewelry when potential home buyers go through their home. Now, real estate agents also advise hiding your prescription medications.

Kevin Burke, who is on the board of directors for the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, told 10News thieves are pairing up and targeting open houses.

"One will distract or engage the real estate agent. The other will wander through property and take things," he said. "Right now, they just know to go for medicine. They know where it's going to be and most people keep it in their master bathroom medicine cabinet."

The pills are as easy to hide as they are easy to sell on the street. 

"Almost impossible to trace… that's what they're looking for, something they can get rid of pretty quickly," said Burke. 

Selling prescription medication on the street is big business. These days, a single Oxycontin pill can go for $50 to $80.

Real estate agents said it is hard to say how widespread the problem really is because these thefts are not being tracked. For now, homeowners have to protect themselves.

"Of course we want the homeowner to put the valuables away," Burke said. "Obvious places don't work. They're going to be looking for medicines in medicine cabinets."

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