By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
A man squatting in a home on Earlham Street attacked a woman after she discovered him on the property on September 21, according to a crime report and neighboring residents.
The woman, reportedly the girlfriend of the owner, was confronted by the squatter, who threatened her with a knife, pushed her to the ground and stole her wallet, according to a neighbor familiar with the situation.
The assailant reportedly took off on foot, and it remains unclear if he has been arrested.
Local law enforcement officials and the owner of the property were not immediately available for comment.
The man, who has been identified by police, was in possession of utility bills and a driver’s license addressed to the home where neighbors say he has been trespassing for over a year.
He is described as a man 5’11” in height in his late 30s with black hair down to his neck.
Neighbors say they have unsuccessfully been urging the owner of the home—who has been in a long process of remodeling—to board up the windows to prevent unwelcome guests.
Over the past month, the squatter has been confrontational with construction workers on the street and residents who have questioned him.
In California, a legal loophole known as adverse possession, or “squatter’s rights,” allow trespassers to claim legal ownership if they have occupied a space for a prolonged period of time.
In an effort to remove the unwelcome guest, the owner filed a Trespass Arrest Authorization with LAPD, according to a copy of the document obtained by the Palisadian-Post. The request will be enforced through September 2020.
The owner has since contracted the help of private security to watch over the vacant home.