In this article, you will get all the information regarding Jacksonville squatters finally evicted from home after 40 days leave behind $15K in damage, owners say
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Holes in the walls, cabinets ripped out, damage to the dishwasher and even a stolen washer and dryer.
Co-owners Patti Peeples and Dawn Tiura told News4JAX on Tuesday that they were facing the consequences of illegally occupying their home in Hogan’s Creek for more than 40 days.
“We called our lawyer to see what our rights were. And he indicated that it has now evolved into a grand theft and a criminal case,” Peeples said.
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The owners said they believe the squat began in March, shortly after a tenant moved out.
“I had sent a handyman here to fix some small items. And when he came up to the house, he saw that there was a mother pit bull with 10 to 14 little puppies on the veranda porch. And at that time I came to investigate what was going on,” Peeples said.
It was then that Peeples realized someone was living in the house. Two women in the house claimed they had a lease.
According to the police report, one of the women said she found the property on Zillow and signed a rental lease. On Tuesday morning, the squatters were finally evicted from the house.
Now the owners are filing criminal charges.
“It’s been over 40 days since we were able to repossess a house we own from squatters who broke in and lived in our house and then destroyed it,” Peeples said.
News4JAX spoke to an attorney who is not associated with the case about the situation.
Curtis Fallgatter said the squatters committed a number of crimes.
“One, of course, is malicious mischief,” he said. “Anything involving damages over $1,000 is a felony below what it is a misdemeanor, but from what you’re telling me, it looks like there’s more $1,000 in damages is a crime, you have video evidence of it.”
Fallgatter said the other crime is an “act of theft”.
“They actually stole the accommodations on this property which are specifically prohibited by law against theft under Florida law,” he said.
Fallgatter said situations like this are rare.
Peeples and Tiura said they estimate between $15,000 and $20,000 in damage.
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Jacksonville squatters finally evicted from home after 40 days leave behind $15K in damage, owners say
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