The Times reports that in some cases, not only do banks/lenders foreclose erroneously, making procedural errors based on sloppy or non-existent documentation, but their contractors break, enter and steal personal property.
The mortgage allows foreclosure under certain circumstances for delinquent payments. Court action is required. Even assuming proper foreclosure, personal property isn't at all included in the secured property. Taking it out of the home might be permissible. Taking possession of it without possession or compensation, making it unavailable to the owner on demand, is conversion (theft) and entirely actionable.
--Even assuming the article is correct in asserting that this crap is rare, it's more common than, say, terrorist attacks, which have engendered massive, costly responses throughout the country. Were I a legislator, I'd propose a law which makes break-in and theft of personal property under the direction of a mortgagee (the holder of the loan) punishable by immediate voiding of the foreclosure and unraveling of the mortgage, reducing its outstanding principal to zero, in addition to holding any contractor acting thus for the mortgagee (the bank/lender) liable for triple damages. That'd solve the problem instantly. I'd expect right wingers, who hold property rights perhaps the most sanctified of all rights other than to carry firearms, to be in the forefront of those outraged by such behavior. How come they aren't? Anyone?