For three years now, a group of shameless deviants have been squatting inside one Washington State homeowner’s property.
“A bunch of criminals. They took over the house and we couldn’t collect a dollar of rent, and have a mortgage,” property owner Laleh Kashani told Seattle station KIRO.
Then finally last Wednesday, local authorities swooped in and removed the squatters.
“Investigators found 52 cars on the land – some of them reported stolen – along with drugs and firearms,” KIRO reported.
Squatters take over a Lynnwood property. Neighbors say a slew of crimes finally led to a raid yesterday.
52 car were on the land. Also guns, drugs.
5 arrested (of about a dozen people).
But get this – today the homeowner says the squatters cut off new locks and are back. pic.twitter.com/w8EhwxeZko
— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) February 17, 2023
It turned out that the squatters had been part of some car theft/chop shop ring.
“Multiple people living or staying there, short term and long term. They have no ownership of the property and it’s very unhealthy and unstable living conditions,” local police Lt. David Hayes told KIRO.
He was among the 30+ officers who participated in the raid.
The officers arrested five people — three reportedly on previous warrants, and two on new charges.
According to Hayes, the department had been monitoring the property for six or so months.
“It was determined a nuisance house after repeated reports of crime, prompting numerous visits from the sheriff’s office,” KIRO notes.
The squatters have been removed, so case closed, right? Unfortunately, no. While Kashani and her neighbors had been hopeful that the raid would resolve their problem, they were wrong.
“I thought that it would be over, but then it started. As soon as they left last night, it started up. It’s been very dangerous,” neighbor Benny Whitson said.
Started up in what way? Well, after the raid, Kashani hired a contractor to install new locks on all of the property’s doors. So far, so good.
But then the squatters — the ones who hadn’t been arrested or had already been bailed out — returned, destroyed the locks, and retook over the property.
This is behind my house and it was frustrating to hear vehicles and people all night long. Hate that squatters and thieves have more rights than owners and retailers. Also living in unincorporated County doesn’t help. My heart goes out to the owner.
— Julie Grote (@JulieGr26130943) February 17, 2023
So incredibly frustrating! I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. And I felt awful for the owner too – all the neighbors really.
— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) February 18, 2023
“We changed the locks and they even broke that. So they should at least be arrested for breaking in, and they didn’t do that,” Kashani complained to KIRO.
She was right. The police have basically shrugged with indifference, arguing that evicting squatters is a civil matter that the property owner has to figure out.
“That [process] sometimes gets a little bit long. Unfortunately, they still are going to have some continued issues because there’s really nothing holding those folks from coming back on the property,” Hayes said to KIRO.
Kashani is reportedly on the verge of giving up.
“Kashani says after years of dealing with this, she’s about to give up and move out of state. She said her husband recently passed away, and now she’s left to raise kids, work, and deal with this alone,” according to KIRO.
“I literally cry. I’m going to give up. I’m going to lose my house. Whatever we owe on it, let the bank take it,” she said to the station.
Internet critics say this is the epitome of BS and that squatting needs to start being treated as a criminal offense:
If “squatting” is labeled as a civil offense, then I think it’s time to relabel these people as criminal trespassers. This is far beyond squatting at this point.
— MisterDavid218 (@MisterDavid218) February 17, 2023
Most, if not all, squatting cases shouldn’t be a civil thing, should be criminal. Tresspass, breaking and entering, burglary, fraud – all sound like crime to me…
— Jordan Ray (@Jordannray75) February 17, 2023
Squatting needs to be punished as heavily as first degree grand theft. Squatters have essentially stolen property worth more than $100,000 (or done such damage) and deserve the punishment that goes with this.
— Elizabeth Wehmeier (@wehmeiere) February 17, 2023
One Internet critic rightly noted that it seems like the criminal justice system cares more for squatters than property owners.
“Sad thing is, if this homeowner even tried to secure and safeguard their property with a guard dog or getting security or even camping out inside with a gun, I’m 1000% positive authorities would go after her harder and tougher should any of the poor squatters/trespassers get hurt,” the critic tweeted.
Others meanwhile argued that if Hayes won’t remove the squatters, Kashani should herself by any means necessary, to hell with the law:
Just shoot squatters.
Done and done.
— theblooms (@themblooms) February 17, 2023
Not squatters. Home Invaders. Clear them out with a shotgun.
— Mike Sachs (@MokeMaybe) February 17, 2023
Republished with permission from American Wire News Service
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