A Walnut Creek special weapons team was called on to evict a group of squatters who had moved into a high-end home on Sugarloaf Court in their city, falsified a lease agreement, and set up shop. Officers arrested two people Thursday, and allegedly found a handgun under the seat of their car, and are looking for more. Officers also made a disturbing discovery after they entered the home.
It turns out the home’s owner visited the residence, which is up for sale with an asking price of $3 million, earlier in the week and was surprised to see that the locks had been changed. He was even more surprised when a man met him at the front door of the multi-million dollar residence and produced what looked to be a legitimate lease agreement, informing the homeowner that he was renting the residence. The owner contacted police, officers did some checking, and it turned out that the group of four people who had moved into the residence had something of a checkered past.
Walnut Creek police secured arrest warrants for four of the occupants and raided the home Thursday night, coming in “heavy” with a full special weapons team after it was determined the squatters might have guns. Two people, 30-year-old Sydney James Jones, Jr., and 22-year-old Natalie Marie Neith were arrested on burglary, forgery and trespassing charges. An AR-15-type assault rifle was also allegedly found inside the home.
Two more people squatting at the residence are being sought, according to police.
Investigators described a typical squatting scenario at the residence, a method made popular in Contra Costa County in recent years as the state financial crises impacted homeowners and many residences were abandoned.
“During that period that it was vacant, several individuals broke into the residence and set up a situation where it appeared they had a lease agreement and essentially they were squatting here,” Walnut Creek Police Lt. Steve Gorski told ABC News.
Further investigation revealed that the squatters had stolen the homeowner’s identity and used information gleaned from the theft to forge a lease agreement, police said.
Some of the “renters” were on probation for drug and weapons violations, according to police, and additional arrests are anticipated.
The home has since been returned to its rightful owner.