Squatters usually use vacant houses as a free place to make a home, but the man who set up camp in Ed Saurs’ Seattle-area home was making a profit selling the homeowner's appliances online.
Saurs and his wife, Mary, moved out of the home after 25 years. On Sept. 1, he drove up to the home for a meeting with his real estate agent. He noticed the front door was open and saw a stranger standing inside.
“I asked him what he was doing in my house and he said, 'I’m here to buy the microwave,'” Saurs said. “And I told him my microwave’s not for sale.”
After Saurs started looking around, he said, “I could see all of my appliances were gone. And I heard running going out the back door.”
He chased the man who ran out the back door, but the man jumped over a fence and escaped. The squatter was caught on a neighbor’s surveillance camera. He also left an electronic trail of ads he has since tried to erase.
Saurs said he's heard of squatters stealing and damaging houses, but was dumbfounded when it happened to him.
“It doesn’t come through until you’re the person chasing after a guy that you know has been in your house, stealing your possessions,” Saurs said.
Saurs said the man who came to buy the microwave gave him texts and phone numbers the squatter used as contact information, as well as screen grabs from ads before they were taken down.
He estimates the squatter sold around $5,000 in appliances and tools.