Des Moines Police Department arrests four from ‘squatter’ homes

The Des Moines Police Department on Thursday (Oct. 23) served search warrants on four separate ‘squatter’ homes in the area, arresting four.

DMPD worked with the assistance of Sea-Tac Police, Federal Way Police, Kent Police and the King County Sheriff’s Office in the operation.

Possible charges the suspects could face are

  • Filing False Documents
  • False Representation Concerning Title
  • Residential Burglary
  • Theft and Trespassing

“The issue of squatters taking over vacant homes by filing false documents with the County Recorder’s Office is a growing issue in King County, Washington State and across the country,” police said in a statement. “When a ‘squatter’ takes over a home it affects the quality of life of the entire neighborhood. Rarely do the “squatters” take care of the home to neighborhood standards and squatters can cause problems for the surrounding neighborhood.”

Police added:

“Squatters” often pay several hundred dollars to take a class to learn ways to take over a vacant home. They are taught how to file an assortment of false documents with the County Recorder’s Office in order to claim the home through adverse possession. The homes are posted with what looks like official documents. The filing of these documents can be a felony or misdemeanor in Washington State. Often, owners of the vacant homes can be difficult to locate because they have lost their home to foreclosure or they are owned by a bank. Attempting to enforce laws such as trespassing or burglary can be very time consuming and difficult to prosecute. Assessing monetary penalties through the Code Enforcement violations are problematic because of the ownership issues.

Police also received vital assistance from the King County Prosecutor’s Office Mortgage Fraud Unit and their prosecutors and investigator. The Mortgage Fraud Unit is funded by a grant from the Department of Financial Institutions. The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General also provided assistance and personnel to assist with the searches.

“The Des Moines Police Department would like to thank all of our local, County, State and Federal partners for their assistance,” police added. “We hope what took place today is just the beginning of a long term effort to rid our neighborhoods of these homes that create such a drain on government resources.”


One Response to “Des Moines Police Department arrests four from ‘squatter’ homes”
  1. Kurious says:

    Anyone hear an update or report about the shooting at the Arco that happened on the 23rd around 3pm and put Highline College in lockdown?

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