A homeowner stopped by to inspect his suburban Atlanta property – but was arrested for trespassing.
Days after a previous tenant moved out, Tim Arko pulled into the driveway of his home in coveted Decatur, where he suddenly encountered a stranger holding a gun to his face.
“I just jumped the fence and ran. I didn’t know what else to do,” Arko told local broadcaster WSB-TV.
“I didn’t stop by a family’s place for dinner. I came in with guns, a prostitute, a bunch of dogs in the background and my broken fence,” he told a reporter.
After calling 911 to report the burglary, Arko was amazed to find that he had been arrested and taken into police custody.
“They told the police I was a burglar and that it was their home. And that’s how I ended up being arrested and imprisoned,” Arko said.
Since then, Arko has been fighting in court for the alleged squatters to be evicted.
Six months later, they still live in Arko’s house.
Two people died of drug overdoses at the residence during this time.
Law enforcement have even accused Arko of failing to properly maintain the home, which he is legally denied access to.
After long delays in court, an eviction order was finally signed. However, Arko is still waiting for the marshals to carry out the eviction.
Arko said he had been informed by marshals that they were hoping for an eviction in September.
“Nobody likes being in the court system, but it gets worse when it seems like it’s broken,” John Ernst, Arko’s attorney, told a reporter.
“I feel like it’s targeting these intruders and criminals very heavily, rather than people who have been scammed,” Arko said.
A similar incident happened in Atlanta back in May, when an Army officer returned to her home to find a squatter living in her sprawling $500,000 home while she was on active duty.
Lt. Col. Dahlia Daure told WSB-TV that she came home to find a man named Vincent Simon living at her home.
Simon, a man convicted of gun, drug and theft offenses, refused to leave home.
The unfortunate discovery was made as Daure’s real estate agent began preparing for the sale of the home on Holly Hill Parkway.
“I felt hurt. If I hadn’t served my country, I would have been at home,” Daure said.
The active duty officer was told by the police that they could not evacuate Simon and that the matter was a “civil matter”.
“I want to shoot out the windows, turn off the water, cut wires, but I can’t. This is a crime. Law-abiding citizens can’t do that,” she said.
The 4,300-square-foot, sprawling home features five bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Before Daure advertised the house, he had rented it out. She spent around $35,000 on renovations.