Main Line realtors tried sabotaging sale of neighbor's home, cops say

Posted: June 28, 2013

ANDREA STRAUB was a shark when it came to marketing high-end homes and luxury living space in Philadelphia and on the Main Line.

The 34-year-old Prudential Fox & Roach Realtor was ranked among the top half of Realtors worldwide, according to her website.

But Straub and her Realtor husband, Jonathan, were so desperate to sell their own home, authorities said, that they crossed the line by putting dead animals in their next-door neighbor's driveway because that house was also on the market for about $1 million.

Lower Merion police cited the couple over the weekend after they were allegedly captured on surveillance last week dumping a dead mouse and snake in front of the property, located on Booth Lane, in a wealthy section of the township.

According to police, the complaint was filed June 20 by a person who was house-sitting for the homeowner, who is hospitalized. The housesitter told police that after putting up sale signs and fliers for prospective buyers, the signs kept getting knocked down and the fliers went missing.

The sitter surreptitiously planted surveillance cameras in a birdhouse and above the garage that captured the Straubs' shenanigans, police said. In addition to dumping the dead animals, police said the couple was also seen kicking over sale signs and cutting down tree branches.

The pair allegedly told police the signs were "tacky." They were given summary citations for harassment and disorderly conduct, punishable by a fine of up to $300 each.

"According to police, [officers] saw it and actually showed it to the people who were cited and they admitted to it and apologized - at least Mr. Straub did," said Public Information Officer Tom Walsh. "Police were adamant about that. He admitted it and he apologized. He was quite apologetic, as a matter of fact."

Attorney John List, however, said that he is being retained by Jonathan Straub and that the couple plans to challenge the citations in court.

"Both Mr. and Mrs. Straub were cited under a statute," List said. "What Mr. Straub told the police, as far as we're concerned, is not even remotely criminal in nature, and we intend to defend it."

List would not provide his version of what the couple told police. He said he has not seen the police report, but quickly defended the Straubs' reputation.

"Both Jonathan and Andrea Straub are upstanding individuals. They're well-thought of, in both Haverford and the business communities they're involved [in]."

He described the allegations as "preposterous and without merit."

William Davis Jr., who is expected to represent Andrea Straub, also described the allegations as preposterous. He said he had only seen the surveillance video on a TV news report.

"In my opinion, you couldn't even see anything at all on the video. You couldn't identify anyone," he said.

A few neighbors declined to comment, but resident Hana Brem, whose family moved to the area two years ago, said the incident surprised her.

"Totally. I mean that's one way to deal with competition," she said.

On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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