It happens over and over in the City of Detroit - landowners and landlords confront squatters who have moved into unoccupied homes.
Mark Fuga of Rondo Investment asked us to come with him to a house on Westphalia where two people had moved in.
The confrontation began immediately between Fuga and a man and woman at the house.
Fuga asked them how they’re living without power, “Show us the electricity. How is it on in there?”
The electric meter on the back of the house showed the power was off.
The man and woman told me they had a lease to live there.
I said to them, “Show me the lease and I’ll leave.”
They said they’d rather deal with authorities. So Fuga and I both called Detroit Police.
Fuga told me, “Unless I tell police you’re here, they’re not going to come for hours.”
Then the woman drove off, and the man walked off.
I confronted him and asked, “You waiting for police?”
He swatted the mic and said, “get the f— camera out of my face.”
I called 911 a second time and said to the operator, “we just had a confrontation.”
She put a supervisor on the line. Within minutes one unit arrived with lights and siren, then another, then another, then a supervisor.
The landlord says this could have all been avoided by paying the squatters to leave, “I’ll give you 200 dollars to get out. I didn’t want them to steal my furnace,” Fuga said.
He gave us pictures from another house; he said when the squatters were forced out they torched it.
This can also work against him saying, “If we pay one set of squatters, then they’re going to be in another house then they’re going to want that, and you get that rep.”
Fuga says in the suburbs, squatters are arrested. Here they had no lease to show police.
They were told to get out. Their friends from down the street started moving their stuff out.
Fuga says this may not be the end, “They should be arrested. Because if he’s not arrested, he will go to that house there, this house will be firebombed tonight or tomorrow night.”
Police said they would drive by to keep watch.
Fuga adds about the squatter, “He’s going to be sitting there laughing when we come back to board it up, with our tail between our legs. It happens over and over.”
Detroit Police tell us there were no arrests. These two squatters do not have a criminal past.
They were given tickets to go to court downtown.