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Soldier Returns to Find Squatters Who Won't Leave His House

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2014 at 2:40 PM
  • 12 Replies

Soldier Returns to Find Squatters Who Won't Leave His House (VIDEO)

by Lisa Fogarty 

Michael Sharkey has spent the last two years dutifully serving his country as a soldier in Afghanistan. He deserves to return home as a celebrated hero or, at the very least, be able to go back to the house he and his wife built together before he was deployed.

Instead, Sharkey is being forced to fight for property that belongs to him. While he was serving overseas, two squatters moved their stuff into his Florida home, changed the locks, and took over. Despite living without simple luxuries like running water, the stubborn squatters say they aren't going to abandon his home until they're good and ready. And police say there's not a darn thing they can do to help him.

Before he left, Sharkey asked his friend Lisa Pettus to keep an eye on his home while he was deployed. Meanwhile, his wife Danielle had relocated to Hawaii, where he is currently stationed. Pettus reportedly agreed to let Julio Ortiz help renovate the home, but she never expected to visit after the improvements were completed and find the man and his girlfriend Fatima Cardoso had moved right in and were treating the house as their very own!

The squatters, both of whom have spent time in jail for robbery and drug charges, told police they had a verbal agreement with Pettus that they could live in Sharkey's house rent-free in exchange for helping to fix up the place. Both Pettus and Sharkey deny this promise was ever made, but if you believe it, the freeloaders' claims hold more weight than you can imagine.

Police have told Sharkey there's nothing they can do to help him because squatters have rights. If the soldier and his wife want their home back, they'll have to shell out lots of money to fight the couple in court.

How disgraceful. I understand this situation is out of local cops' hands, but someone should be able to help Sharkey get back what rightfully belongs to him. I can't believe Ortiz and Cardoso wouldn't willingly give in and leave the house after hearing it belongs to someone who has dedicated his life to protecting their freedom. It's truly heinous and disrespectful. Let's hope Sharkey and his wife can reclaim their home -- without being forced to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees.

This video clip contains footage of Sharkey's house, as well as comments by Sharkey, Ortiz, and Cardoso:


Do you think the squatters have the right to take over this man's house?

by on Apr. 25, 2014 at 2:40 PM
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Replies (1-10):
valkay
by Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Do notI. Understand how this is allowed . When we there last year there was a story about a guy who had a million dollar house for sale it was empty because of his job transfer. Squattters broke in and dad he was having a hard time and a big expense getting them out.
Personally since you have a right to defend your property in Florida I do not know why you couldn't chase them out.
KimmyShaw
by Bronze Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I read about this yesterday and feel horrible for him! The laws need to be rewritten so this doesn't happen anymore.

Elle.tea.22
by Bronze Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM

I would sell the house, burn it, tear it apart piece by piece. "Smoke the monster out".

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Apr. 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

I just watched this story on the news. The night of the first broadcast of this story locally, the squatters left the house but left the dogs behind....It's sad and messed up to me that it took exposure on the news for these people to leave the home. They were perfectly happy and content living in a house that isn't theirs. Crazy. People are crazy.

That house is in bad shape. I understand there are plans to fix it up to make it habitable once again. But if I were the owners, I know that I couldn't wait to get rid of the house after all of this.

MrsDavidB25
by Stacey on Apr. 25, 2014 at 3:30 PM

 I saw a picture of the house and it is an absolute dump now. What a shame.

UCFknight
by Bronze Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This is one thing I hate about FL. So easy for a squatter to move in, but so hard for a homeowner to get them out. We own a home in FL and always have this concern that our property could be taken over by squatters if left vacant for too long. Just a sad story. At least the squatters left, but they totally destroyed his home!

BellaRose17
by Bronze Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM
2 moms liked this

http://rare.us/story/veterans-unite-to-kick-squatting-felon-out-of-deployed-soldiers-home/

"After a local Florida newscast broke the story of a veteran’s home being taken over by squatters, local veterans took it upon themselves to do what the police couldn’t.

Given the nature of a home takeover, police would have needed a court order to evict the convicted felons living in the house of a deployed soldier. WFLA reported that two Tampa motorcycle clubs, filled to the brim with veterans, were planning on riding by the Florida home to peacefully pressure the residents to leave.

After hearing about the planned rides and an impending eviction notice, Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend left the home that they had been illegally squatting in. Different veterans groups around the world offered to pay for an attorney and watch the home while Sharkey is stationed in Hawaii, following a long deployment in Afghanistan.

When WFLA’s cameras were back on the scene, the defiant Ortiz cursed at the crew while flexing his muscles and walking around with a mop on his head. Two abandoned dogs were later cared for by animal control. The Veteran Warrior’s organization plans to clean and remodel the home before Sharkey returns later this year. - See more at: http://rare.us/story/veterans-unite-to-kick-squatting-felon-out-of-deployed-soldiers-home/#sthash.DAGnUzCp.dpuf"

darbyakeep45
by Darby on Apr. 25, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Sad situation.  I feel sorry for the family.  I would have NEVER left my home in the hands of someone with a criminal record.  That wasn't the smartest move.

illogicalkat
by Member on Apr. 25, 2014 at 7:46 PM

He didn't. Read the article again. The convicted felon was the squatter who lied about having permission to live there.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

Sad situation.  I feel sorry for the family.  I would have NEVER left my home in the hands of someone with a criminal record.  That wasn't the smartest move.


Anonymous
by Anonymous on Apr. 25, 2014 at 8:56 PM
This happened to my sil. Her house was in foreclosure but not taken by the bank yet. It was vacant for three yrs by this time. Her bff happened to live behind the house and noticed a car in the driveway. So she caught it early. The guy is now being charged with a buttload of things besides illegally renting out houses. I'm in nj and the laws are similiar here.
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