- A Florida homeowner discovered 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, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and grand theft over $750
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 been changed.
The concerned owner, whose main residence is out of state, turned detective and discovered a young man driving his car and parking it in the house’s garage, the local sheriff’s office said.
He subsequently blocked the driveway, and called 911 while several neighbors surrounded the squatter until deputies arrived.
Emmanuel Pierre, 25, was arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and grand theft over $750. He is scheduled to appear in court on November 27.
Emmanuel Pierre, 25, (pictured) was arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and grand theft over $750
The break-in occurred in the exclusive gated community of Catalpa Cove, Fort Myers
Surveillance footage from a neighbor allegedly shows Pierre looking through the windows breaking in through a front window and entering the home on October 25.
‘Don’t let this homeowner’s worst nightmare happen to you’ the Lee County Sheriff’s Office warned residents in a press release.
Adding that they offer ‘Vacation Home Checks,’ where residents can request ‘an increase in police patrols for your area, while you are away.’
A man, believed to be a neighbor within the gated community told Wink News ‘Just imagine coming home to your house and expecting it to be empty and walking in and there is somebody living there.
‘It’s just very disheartening to think that in a gated community this could happen.’
Florida has seen an increase in squatting cases in recent years.
Last month Florida authorities arrested 19 squatters after they had allegedly taken over a a vacant motel.
Deputies spent three hours clearing 36 rooms, some of which had been barricaded from the inside, finding a ‘really atrocious scene’.
A neighbor within the gated community said: ‘It’s just very disheartening to think that in a gated community this could happen’
‘Don’t let this homeowner’s worst nightmare happen to you’ the Lee County Sheriff’s Office warned residents in a press release
The former Budget Inn in Gainesville was left with $15,000 in damages.
‘There were a lot of people there, a lot of damage to the facilities. They had broken into the utilities. There was an enormous amount of drug paraphernalia and alcohol,’ county spokesperson Mark Sexton told the Gainesville Sun.
Further to this an entire neighborhood was overrun with squatters in Panhandle, Florida last month.
Pensacola has seen a huge influx of vagrants that have made the area ‘dangerous’ and ‘unhealthy’.
Furious neighbors said they were at breaking point and desperate to leave after witnessing the newcomers relieving themselves publicly for over a year.
‘It’s dangerous. It’s not healthy. And it’s really kinda starting to take a toll on our neighbors and how they feel about letting their kids play out in the yard,’ local Jessica Allen told WEAR.
‘Some of our neighbors have just, all of a sudden, there’s a homeless person just in their backyard leaned up against the shed smoking a cigarette,’ Allen said.
The Escambia County Sheriffs Office has been called to Le Jeune Drive approximately 70 times, but each time they inform the property owners that the issue can only be taken up with code enforcement.
There are currently two open squatting cases with Pensacola code enforcement on Le Jeune Drive, where Allen and her neighbors reside.