Neighbors in north Springfield neighborhood express concerns over squatters

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Trespassers and illegal tenants are causing new concerns in north Springfield. Neighbors around the 1000 block of Jean street are concerned for their safety and others.

Steven Rust said his mother is in her 90s and is scared to walk outside because of some new, unwanted neighbors.

“It’s dangerous for people around this area,” said Rust. “I mean, she used to walk up and down the street to get a little exercise. Now she’s afraid.”

Steven Rust said his mother has lived in their childhood home off East Jean St. for 60 years.

“People (are) breaking the window out of the kitchen, climbing in, staying the night,” said Rust. “They got brazen. More and more have shown up.”

Rust said the original owners died a few years ago, and no one comes to check on the house. But when he spoke to the city, they said it was sold to an LLC for tax reasons, and the property doesn’t have utilities.

“We don’t know what kind of people are living there,” said Rust.

Rust said cars line the yard at night, with a large camper in the front. He thinks there are maybe a dozen people in there at a time. Sometimes they come to pick something up quickly in a car. They come with shopping carts or large backpacks.

When KY3 reporter Liam Garrity showed up, he saw people with large backpacks coming in and out.

But Rust said there are even more troubles.

“You got little kids walking to school back and forth every day. That’s just two blocks away,” said Rust. “It’s going to start getting cold in a couple of months, and they’re going to burn the damn house down.”

Rust said the unwanted activity reminds him of a scary situation down the other side of the street at another house.

“It stayed empty. It was the same thing,” said Rust. “Caught on fire in the middle of the night, and the city had come out. It gutted it basically and put it out.”

Rust said neighbors are nervous about the people breaking into their homes, and another neighbor is worried they will steal his equipment because he is building a house next door.

Rust said he wants them to go to a safe place.

“They show up randomly all over the place over there,” said Rust. “What I don’t understand is some of them have vehicles that they can drive, yet they don’t live anywhere.”

In a statement from the Springfield Police Department, a spokesperson said to call 911 to alert officers of squatters. Then to enforce trespassing, they need contact with the owner and, at request, will enact their homeless protocol and give those time and resources to move.

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