|Published:||Nov 27, 2013 4:16 PM EST|
|Updated:||Nov 27, 2013 5:59 PM EST|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Only on WINK, a husband and wife team busted for unpacking their boxes and moving in to a foreclosed home in Port Charlotte.
The couple got away with the scheme for months, even fooling the neighbors. And it wasn't until the real owner got a bill in the mail that the plot unfolded.
Deputies say when they arrived it was very clear this family had tried to move in and make this place their own. They had moved in many of their personal belongings and even displayed family photos.
From the garage to the front door, to the lanai and the back entrance, these community policing officers leave no lock unchecked.
"It's become a big problem because there's so many houses in the area that are under foreclosure... people find this out and they see a house that's been vacant for a while and they just move in," Joseph fiorini.
Deputies say that's exactly what Elizabeth and Robert True did here at this home on Oswego Street. They moved in with their son and two dogs in September.
"Nobody would've suspected. Neighbors come over and say welcome to the neighborhood. Some of these people actually believe they belong here," says William Miller.
But the homeowner did suspect. She lives in New York and says she knew something was wrong when she got a high utility bill in the mail.
"I was angry that somebody would actually go in there and somebody would actually tamper with the water and obviously do something to have electric," says Toni Zambuto.
Deputies say the Trues showed them a rental contract. But when they tried to reach the person listed on it, the number didn't work. They say this isn't the first time they've seen this happen in squatter cases.
"One guy even had an ad from Craigslist. But the ad from craigslist was actually created three weeks after he moved into the house," Fiorini adds.
"We do the research and we find out what's true and what's not true," Miller adds.
Deputies remind folks that if you have a home that you're not living in or if you are going to be away fro a while, you can actually leave a form at the Sheriff's Office letting them if anyone is allowed on your property and they will come by and keep an eye on the house for you.
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