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Neighborhood fed up with squatters in foreclosed house

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – One community is fed up. There are people living in a foreclosed house and they said it’s bringing crime and drugs into their neighborhood.

They reported the problem to Horry County, but officials told them nothing can be done immediately.

Bridge Creek Subdivision is off Highway 707.

Since Jan. 1, neighbors have made more than 50 calls to police but nothing is being done to keep their families safe from the people living at 811 Shem Creek Circle.

Neighbors said squatters have lived in this foreclosed house for years. The most common complaints reported by neighbors involve drug activity, theft and deplorable conditions. WMBF News was able to see at least five police reports showing people arrested at this address for either drugs or assault.

Neighbors said the police and EMS are always at the house, but weeks later the same people always show back up.

The entire neighborhood is upset about it and wants something done. They want the house to be torn down or at least closed off by police so people can stop living inside.

“We as a whole have contacted multiple times about the things that we see and the things that we know, and offered up our yards for the police to sit and build their case. And it seems as though that offer has never been taken up. They just hear what we have to say, hang up their phone, go about their way,” said Whitney Craig.

WMBF News reached out to Horry County leaders to find out if, and how, this situation can be resolved. Horry County police and the Solicitor’s Office both said this situation could go multiple ways.

If the house is foreclosed, police could get the bank to post “no trespassing” warnings, but that’s dependent on the bank’s cooperation. If it’s dilapidated to the point it can’t be sold, code enforcement would have to inspect it and condemn it.

At that point, police could charge people found on the property with trespassing. If the people there can prove they were the owners before foreclosure, then the bank has to evict them.

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said a nuisance action can be a starting point, but it would have to be initiated by Horry County police.

In that situation, police would bring the evidence to Richardson to look over and then reach out to a civil attorney.

From there, the bank or interest holders would go before a judge to make their arguments. It could end with police nailing the door shut, or the judge forcing the bank to do something with the house.

Either way, neighbors say enough is enough.

“I won’t let my kids leave the yard, because I don’t know whose coming and whose going and what’s about to happen. And furthermore, I don’t want my kids being exposed to somebody being laid out overdosed with a needle in their arm,” Craig said.

Both Horry County Police Spokeswoman Krystal Dotson and Jimmy Richardson said these scenarios can be put into action once investigated, but it won’t be a fast process.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Article source: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/35899008/neighborhood-fed-up-with-squatters-in-foreclosed-house

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