A group of Tulsa neighbors is concerned that rising crime in their area may be linked to squatters who have taken over a nearby home.
The home on the 8300 block of East 13th Street was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo months back. Not long afterward, neighbors reported a group of squatters taking up residence. Those neighbors said petty thefts soon increased and full-fledged burglaries weren't far behind.
"If it's not nailed down, they will steal it," said John Parker, who lives in the area.
Parker said he has come face-to-face with burglars in his home three separate times. On multiple occasions now, Parker said he's held burglary suspects at gunpoint until officers arrived. It became more concerning for him last month when he reported to police a burglar left behind a 22 inch machete along with a cell phone.
"There is a level of fear and the fear is, you can't go anywhere. You can't go out to dinner, shopping or a movie. You can't go on vacation. Forget it. You can't have a job. If you're not there 24/7, they are in your house stealing everything you have," Parker said.
Police took reports of the burglaries, though Parker is frustrated with the delays and frequency of incidents. He said one burglar claimed to be a real estate investor and told officers he entered the property through an open door. Not true, Parker said, however it was enough for the suspect to avoid a burglary charge.
As for the squatters, Tulsa police said Wells Fargo would need to file a complaint for them to carry out any action.
2 Works for You reached out to the bank to find out whether there were any plans to remove the squatters. The bank didn't reply. However, a private real estate inspector said they do not typically contact authorities unless there are obvious signs of crime going on at the house squatters are occupying.
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