A pair of female squatters in a Florida home caused $38,000 in property damage and threw human feces into the homeowner’s car, the New York Post reported.
“It’s terrifying,” said property co-owner Patti Peeples in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Todd Pirro on “Fox and Friends First.”
“The imbalance between a squatter’s rights versus the property owner or the landlord’s rights are really out of whack. So that creates all kinds of feelings of having no empowerment in the situation.”
Peeples and co-owner Dawn Tiura suspect the two women and two toddlers, along with a pit bull and several puppies, got into the Jacksonville rental home in March around the time the former tenants were leaving. The squatters illegally occupied the home for 40 days while the co-owners worked their way through the complex legalities of evicting them, WJXT reported.
In one altercation, Peeples says the squatters threw human feces into the open window of her car. They also threw a brick at the car, damaging it, Fox News Digital reported.
The squatters, one of whom was reportedly involved in a nearly identical situation a month earlier, claimed she was a victim of a Zillow rental scam in which she paid a false landlord, in cash, for rent, a security deposit, and a pet deposit, the outlet also reported.
“They are simply going from property to property to property and getting free room and board in segments of 20 or more days,” Peeples said, adding that the police cannot help because these sorts of situations are handled by the courts.
A clip shared on Fox News Channel’s “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” shows one of the female squatters wielding what appears to be a tire iron. “So you must want me to take this and break your phone,” she says, as another woman gently reaches for the iron, possibly in an attempt to deescalate the situation.
“We called our attorney to see what our rights were. And he indicated that this had progressed now to grand theft and a criminal matter,” Peeples told WJXT.
Peeples says the squatters’ knowledge of how to work the legal system allowed them to take control of her and co-owner Dawn Tirua’s home.
A handyman the owners sent in to make repairs before an inspection for a potential sale tipped them off that the property had been overtaken, the Post explained. The owners say the handyman spotted a pit bull mother and several puppies in the sun porch.
Damage to the home included smashed windows and walls, ruined carpet which had been put in just weeks earlier, broken cabinets and toilets, and scattered fecal matter from the dogs.
Watch Fox News Channel’s “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” segment featuring owners Patti Peeples and Dawn Tirua’s struggle to rid their property of squatters below.