Imagine leaving your house to go visit a dying relative out of town and coming back to find that ... someone has taken over your house. Not just taken over, but changed the locks and tossed all of your stuff outside. And it might be perfectly legal! This is the nightmare scenario that greeted one woman when she returned to her house in Springdale, Ohio and found a man named Robert Carr had simply taken over the home she had lived in for 21 years.

The woman, who wishes to remain unnamed out of fear, says that when she returned home from visiting a dying relative over the holidays, she was horrified to see that all of her stuff was on the lawn and that her locks had been changed.

The woman had apparently only been away for four days, but Carr apparently took the home to be abandoned -- even though all of her stuff was there -- and took it over with something called a "quiet title." He then filed papers with the town making himself the new owner. Reportedly, he has done this with 11 other homes.

The woman apparently hasn't returned to the house because she fears the man could be in it or just walk inside at any moment. The house was in the middle of being foreclosed, but the bank had not yet taken it back.

A reporter tracked down Carr and asked him what exactly he was doing. His answer?

When you abandon a property, bam, walk away from it, 'I ain't never coming back. I don't want nothing to do with it,' right? Somebody can come in, 'Oh, mine.' I have a team of people who go out and I say make sure the house is empty. If it's empty, change the locks.

If this all sounds pretty sketchy, that's because it is. There are squatters laws, but the FBI, who is aware of the woman's case, wouldn't comment on what they're doing about the situation. The woman has hired a lawyer. The case is wending its way through court now.

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To be sure if anyone pulled this crap on me, I'd have them out in two seconds flat. So it's unclear why the woman didn't just break in and change the locks again. Maybe she was afraid.

Looks like hiring a housesitter for the holidays might be worth the extra cash.

What would you do?

 

Image via ReneS/Flickr