Shady Foreclosure Rescuer Shot Dead
Hydra Lacy, a 6-foot 4-inch, 270-pound registered sexual offender who had engaged in some questionable real estate investing, was holed up in his estranged wife's home in a gun battle that left two police officers dead, a U.S. Marshal wounded, and the home leveled.
Police used hydraulic arms and a front loader to bash in the attic of the 1,658-square-foot home in the St. Petersburg Bayview Terrace neighborhood.
Police were hunting for Lacy because in November he'd skipped out on a trial for domestic violence. He was accused of beating his wife in 2009 so severely that she had to be hospitalized, according to WTSP-TV News. The most recent charges against him were because he allegedly stabbed his wife in the leg and face with a sword and hit her in the head with a bottle, violating a no contact order in the process, reported Fox Tampa Bay. A fugitive task force that had been trying to track him down showed up at Christine's house with a warrant for his arrest.
Lacy made a few bucks when he plunged into the real estate market in February 2004, eventually purchasing just under a dozen homes with sale prices ranging from about $115,000 to $135,000, when some had previously sold only months earlier for far less than $100,000. For example, in 2006 he purchased a home for $135,000 from a couple that had purchased it less than three months earlier for $74,000, reported the Tampa Tribune.
Rather than take a typical investor approach of buy low and sell high, Lacy purchased homes at a premium, and often would rent them out, sometimes back to the original homeowner.
In April 2007, Kasenie Akbarally defaulted on two houses that she purchased in 2005 -- one for $97,400, the other for $95,900. Yet within three months of getting foreclosure notices, she sold both houses to Lacy for $145,000 each, reported the St. Peterburg Times. Similarly in May 2007, another woman, Shermeela Asgaralli, sold a home to Lacy for $145,000 after she received a foreclosure notice. She had only paid $95,000 in 2005.
Lacy purchased his primary residence in 2004 for $116,000 by receiving 100 percent financing from the lender, North Carolina-based Decision One Mortgage, which catered to borrowers with poor credit before it went out of business in 2007. Lacy refinanced the home for $180,000 in 2006. For most of the other properties, he apparently put down several thousand dollars and borrowed the rest.
By 2009, he and his wife, Christine Mary Jewell Pitts, were in default on six of their seven Tampa Tribune. The one spared he quit-claimed to her last year, but it's the one the police leveled during the shootout. Of the other homes, one is for sale, two appear vacant, and another declared unfit for human habitation. The city of St. Petersburg bought one of them for $19,800, using federal funds earmarked for acquiring foreclosed properties in rundown condition.
"Typically we either renovate and sell them to qualified families or we demolish and build new houses,'' Paul Stellrecht, one of the city's economic development coordinators told the paper. However, last year the city demolished the home.
Pitts is now without a home, and the city tells her to file a claim with her insurance company. "Any damage caused as a result of a police action," St. Petersburg chief assistant city attorney Mark Winn told the Tribune, "we're not responsible for."
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