A man who allegedly squatted in a Nanaimo home while residents were away on holiday was arrested earlier this week after he refused to leave, say police.
The arrest was made Monday (Sept. 7).
The 40-year-old, who was known to police, did not come out of the house when asked and so a police dog was sent in, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
O’Brien said a family that lives in the 300 block of Nicol Street went to the Yukon for three weeks and “it appears that either a squatter or squatters basically took over their house and did a lot of damage … We were advised the house was empty at the time and nobody should be in the house.”
The family returned from holiday on Sunday, the day before the arrest, to find that their house had been broken into and that property had been damaged and allegedly stolen.
“The beds had been broken and stained, the kids’ clothes and toys had been strewn all over, and there was drug paraphernalia everywhere, including in the kids’ new back-to-school backpacks. Almost all of their things have been stained, broken, or stolen,” noted a press release from GoFundMe.
The next night at about 8 p.m., Nanaimo RCMP were called to a report of a break-and-enter in progress and found a suspect back inside the home.
“It was known [the suspect] has a propensity for violence and is sometimes carrying weapons…” O’Brien said. “The male was taken out [of the home], taken to hospital for a few stitches and he’s in cells as we speak.”
The suspect appeared in provincial court in Nanaimo this week to face a charge of break-and-enter.
O’Brien said these sort of incidents aren’t common because he said a lot of citizens in Nanaimo are “switched on” to crime prevention.
“Key is communication between neighbours to say, ‘hey, I’m going to be out of town for a while, can you keep an eye on things?’ Not saying this did not happen, but obviously there was a breakdown somewhere,” O’Brien said.
A GoFundMe has raised $8,700 for the family, which didn’t have tenants’ insurance. To view or donate to the GoFundMe, click this link.