As a real estate agent, Katie can help anyone find a home. What she found recently presented a big problem
"It was a little bit of a shock expecting to be able to go in, take pictures, list a property and find out the locks are changed,” Katie said. “It is a little scary."
The home is in an east side Colorado Springs neighborhood, and the owner lives out of town. When Katie couldn't get in to put it on the market, she called police.
"It feels very violating," she said.
CSPD spokesperson Barbara Miller said Tuesday someone was living there, likely for months, claiming they could be there through something called adverse possession. That's a statute that does allow someone to live in a vacant house. Essentially, it requires a property to be vacant for 18 years before anyone can just take over. Clearly that didn't happen in this neighborhood. Those in the home Katie was trying to sell were cited with trespassing, and two other people linked to the investigation have been arrested.
Katie is now getting back to work.
"They aren't the homeowners, they don't belong in the home...it needs to go back to the homeowner so they have the property," she said.
Police are now trying to find out how widespread this problem could be. Miller said there could be at least two more of these cases currently under investigation in Colorado Springs. Specifics about Katie's case, including the names and pictures of the suspects who were arrested, have not been released by police to protect their ongoing investigation.
Police suggest if neighbors know a house is vacant and see people who shouldn't be there, call them right away.
We now have more details in the case of two accused trespassers. They are 34-year-old Ethan Eaton and 31-year-old Bryan Jensen.
According to police, Jensen moved into a home on Rockville Drive back in May of 2012 and Eaton moved into a home on Homestead Ridge, also in Colorado Springs on or before July of this year.
Police tell us they are facing trespassing charges and could face others.
In a police report, we have learned the men were allegedly operating a business and a website helping people here in the Springs trespass on other vacant properties.
In this case, the realtors were extremely helpful in getting in touch with victims; one of whom lives out of state, the other lives in another country.
Trust 11 News to let you know what happens with the case.