Each week, AOL Real Estate probes the corners of the Web to bring you offbeat dispatches from the world of real estate. This week: stories of hapless intruders, including a thirsty 8-year-old who got stuck in a neighbor's chimney, a cantankerous hawk and a swarm of bats that has prompted a lawsuit.
But first, a commercial break for a real killer product. Literally. Entrepreneurs Eric and Jessika Gein (their surname is adopted from famous murderer and body-mutilator, Ed Gein, which ought to tell you something) have been peddling soil from a serial killer's property. AOL Jobs reports that the Jacksonville, Fla., couple got an accomplice to scoop up two bags of soil at the Cleveland home of convicted murderer Anthony Sowell and are selling it for $25 a gram on their crime memorabilia website. (The price, AOL Jobs notes, is almost five times the average price of low grade marijuana.) Sowell was convicted in July of killing 11 women and now waits on Ohio's death row.
Now on to strange tales of forced -- or just unfortunate -- entry. Take, for example, the 8-year-old boy of West Valley City, Utah, who was so cotton-mouthed that he tried to slide down the chimney of his neighbor's home for a drink. That didn't work out so well, msnbc.com reports: He got stuck. Firefighters later rescued the boy, whose 30-foot slide to hydration ended between the basement and main floor. The boy is fine, but the homeowner, Richard Draper, suffered some trauma. "I was haunted by the fact we had this child in our chimney," he told The Associated Press.
Two renters in Manhattan also were forced to confront unnerving guests. Dimitra Mallarios and Irene Katehis are suing their landlord over an alleged bat infestation, Gothamist reports. Two nights after moving into the apartment, Mallarios discovered a bat wheeling around her airspace. Four nights later she heard a "bustling" in the vicinity of the window. Guess what was hiding behind the curtain? The two renters, who have since received rabies shots in case they'd been bitten in their sleep, are suing the landlord for $1 million. That should more than cover the $36,000 they paid up front for a year's rent.
Another winged creature also made an unexpected appearance in a Manhattan apartment this week. Joe Moderski came home to a mess of feathers that made him think he had missed a pillow fight, he told The Associated Press. When he found the culprit -- a red-tailed hawk who'd flown in through an open window -- the bird flew at him, barely missing his face. Police eventually caught the hawk, after a failed attempt to lure it with breadcrumbs.
The only thing weird about this next item is that it isn't weirder. Stores of administrative snafus sending people into foreclosure are practically commonplace these days. But here's one with a new twist: 70-year-old Florida resident Sharon Bullington got a foreclosure notice from Bank of America after paying her mortgage early . According to TampaBay.com, Bullington, who was enrolled in the government's HAMP loan modification program, ran afoul of the bank when she submitted January's mortgage payment in December. According to HAMP guidelines, "If you are not able to make each payment in the month in which [it] is due, you will not be eligible for a modification." When she submitted the next month's payment electronically and entered the wrong bank routing number, she was ejected from the program. The bank has issued an apology and is investigating.
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