10 squatters ravage $1M Fort Lauderdale home, leave it ‘bug infested’
Florida law enforcement removed 10 people who illegally took over an expensive Fort Lauderdale home, leaving it bug infested and damaged, according to local officials.
“It’s bug infested,” Mike Fisten, an investigator for the Broward Property Appraiser’s office Crimes Against Property team, told CBS Miami. “The walls are damaged. The flooring is damaged. The windows are damaged. The whole area is totally damaged.”
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office evicted seven men, two women and a child last Tuesday from the home on Seabreeze Boulevard after it was discovered they were illegally squatting. Investigators were able to unravel an alleged crime ring after the arrest last October of Tyrone Jones, who allegedly led a title fraud operation.
Jones reportedly created a fake person to become executor of the Fort Lauderdale property, allowing him to illegally take ownership of the $1 million property. Jones allegedly carried out similar fraud with 14 other properties in the area that are worth a combined $14 million.
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“He actually had rented it out to other people that didn’t own the property,” Broward County Property Appraiser Marty Kiar told CBS Miami.
Fisten added that the reported squatters “know the system,” and “know how to stay there until the courts throw them out.”
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Following news coverage of Jones’ arrest, a neighbor to the house on Seabreeze Boulevard reached out to Kiar’s office about a terrifying incident where he found someone had broken into his home in the middle of the night.
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“My wife screaming, someone’s in our room, and my dog barking and chasing him out,” the neighbor, who did not share his identity, told CBS Miami.
“This person in our bedroom, he was at the foot of our bed. He had stepped into the room,” the man added.
Local authorities arrested Kevin Bosley for burglary following the Feb. 27, 2022, incident, but the homeowner didn’t realize the suspect was living in a stolen home until about a year later.
Bosley was released on an ankle monitor and returned to the home on Seabreeze Boulevard. He was still wearing the ankle monitor on Tuesday when authorities removed him and the nine other residents, according to CBS Miami.
“When an individual steals a home, not only is the property owner a victim, but the community can be victimized as well,” Kiar told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
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“In this situation, one of the individuals in the home was arrested for breaking and entering into a nearby home. The owner of the nearby home reached out to our office. I am glad that the property has now been returned to the property owner. I want to thank the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office as they have been incredible partners in helping us protect our wonderful Broward community,” he continued.
Kiar told the local outlet that his office has been reviewing squatting incidents for about a year, and has had 185 cases.
“We only started about a year ago, we’ve had about 185 cases, and every case is a little bit different. And in every case, what we do evolves a little bit. Our underlying goal at the end of the day is just to help protect the community and to hold people accountable,” he said.
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The squatters left without incident on Tuesday, and authorities changed the locks. Due to Bosley’s ankle monitor, he’s required to alert his parole officer to the situation or could face arrest for violating the terms of his parole, CBS Miami reported.