This letter details on ongoing problem with foreclosed homes: Squatters. They can be bold and this is not a healthy situation for our neighborhoods. The letter details the good things that can happen when our residents act in partnership with our village policing unit, acting as their eyes and ears.
July 24, 2014
July 24, 2014
To: The Palmetto Bay Police Department
Dear Commander Truitt,
I am sending you this letter to let you know how impressed and proud I am of the Palmetto Bay Police Force, and in particular, Officer Sanchez.
I noticed my dogs acting funny and yes, barking at the neighbor’s fence on the south side of my property. The neighbors that were in that house had moved away about a month ago, and the house has been abandoned ever since. So with my curiosity up, I kept an eye on the property.
Sunday July 13, 2014 in the afternoon, I noticed a white van pulling into the property. There were two gentlemen in the van that looked a bit out of place. So I called the Police, as per your instructions, for when I see someone in the neighborhood who does not belong. Officer Sanchez responded.
There was no easy access to the property as the gate was now locked from the inside. Officer Sanchez called for back up and then jumped the fence to investigate.
What he found was a family of squatters who had moved in: two adult males, one adult female, and 3 children. As we found out later, they actually had FPL turn the power on.
To make a long story short, the group of squatters was escorted away. I called the bank that is foreclosing on the property, and they sent a representative out to secure the property.
I have since learned this same group is moving house-to-house in Palmetto Bay, whenever they can find an abandoned house or a house in foreclosure after the owners have left. This is a very dangerous situation for anyone in a neighborhood where these folks move in.
The possibility of a marijuana grow house being set up or other illegal activities happening is very likely. The fact these squatters can now watch the local residents come and go, and can break in and rob the neighboring homes is also a very likely possibility.
Commander Truitt -- this is a very high priority for Palmetto Bay. Let’s start spreading the news about this very serious problem.
Please let Officer Sanchez know how appreciative I am of his handling of this case and his heroics in literally placing himself in harm’s way to protect a local resident. This has not gone unnoticed. Thank you Officer Sanchez.
Palmetto Bay &Farmer Road Resident