- A homeowner in Florida discovered that a squatter had taken over his vacation home in an exclusive gated community after receiving an alert from his smart meter
- The squatter had set up a PlayStation console in the bedroom, cooked in the kitchen and even driven the owner’s car
- Emmanuel Pierre, 25, was arrested and charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and theft over $750
A homeowner in Florida made the horrifying discovery that a squatter had moved into his vacation home, set up a PlayStation console in the bedroom, cooked in his kitchen and even driven his car.
The unsuspecting homeowner learned that someone had taken over his Fort Myers home in the gated community of Catalpa Cove after his smart meter alerted him that the temperature had changed.
The concerned owner, whose primary residence is out of state, turned detective and discovered a young man driving his car and parking it in the home’s garage, the local sheriff’s office said.
He then blocked the driveway and called 911, while several neighbors surrounded the squatter until emergency responders arrived.
Emmanuel Pierre, 25, was arrested and charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and theft over $750. He is scheduled to appear in court on November 27.
Emmanuel Pierre, 25, (pictured) was arrested and charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and theft over $750
The burglary occurred in the exclusive gated community of Catalpa Cove, Fort Myers
Surveillance footage from a neighbor allegedly shows Pierre looking through the windows and entering the house through a front window on October 25.
“Don’t let this homeowner’s worst nightmare happen to you,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office warned residents in a news release.
Adding that they are offering ‘Holiday Home Vouchers’ where residents can ‘request an increase in the number of police patrols for your area while you are away.’
A man, probably a neighbor within the gated community said Winknieuws “Imagine coming home to your house and expecting it to be empty and then you walk in and someone is living there.
“It’s just very disheartening to think that this could happen in a gated community.”
In Florida, the number of squatters has increased in recent years.
Last month, authorities in Florida arrested 19 squatters after allegedly taking over a vacant motel.
Officers spent three hours clearing 36 rooms, some of which were barricaded from the inside, finding a ‘truly horrific scene’.
A neighbor within the gated community said: ‘It’s just very disheartening to think that this could happen in a gated community’
“Don’t let this homeowner’s worst nightmare happen to you,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office warned residents in a news release
The former Budget Inn in Gainesville was left with $15,000 in damages.
‘There were a lot of people there and there was a lot of damage to the facilities. They had broken into the utilities. There was a tremendous amount of drug paraphernalia and alcohol,” county spokesman Mark Sexton told the Gainesville Sun.
In addition, last month in Panhandle, Florida, an entire neighborhood was overrun with squatters.
Pensacola has seen a huge influx of vagrants that have made the area “dangerous” and “unhealthy.”
Furious neighbors said they were at a breaking point and desperate to leave after watching the newcomers defecate in public for more than a year.
‘It’s dangerous. It’s not healthy. And it’s really starting to take a toll on our neighbors and how they feel about letting their kids play in the yard,” local Jessica Allen told WEAR.
“Some of our neighbors suddenly have a homeless person in their backyard, leaning against the shed and smoking a cigarette,” Allen said.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has been called to Le Jeune Drive approximately 70 times, but each time they inform property owners that the only way the issue can be addressed is through code enforcement.
There are currently two open squatting cases with Pensacola code enforcement on Le Jeune Drive, where Allen and her neighbors live.