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8 on Your Side: Squatters invade northwest valley home | News

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8 on Your Side: Squatters invade northwest valley home

LAS VEGAS - Cecile Chiles says she barely recognizes her Centennial Hills home.

“A whole lot of junk, a whole lot of damage, this is just a mess,” she said.

Squatters invaded the home shortly after she moved out. “Nothing in here is mine. Look at the kitchen. This is what hurt me the most,” she said.

All of her appliances were stolen. The squatters trashed several rooms and added a stripper pole to one room. “All I can do is laugh about it,” she said. “I don't know the first thing about that pole.”

Desperate to kick them out, she confronted them in person.

“I said, ‘Who do you guys rent from?’ They said, ‘The owner.’ I said, ‘What does she look like?’ They said, ‘A small white lady.’ I said, ‘You're lying,’” Chiles said.

Chiles tried to force them to leave, but the situation became scary when she says one of the squatters pulled out a gun. Scared for her safety, she left and turned to 8 on Your Side.

“I didn't have a clue what to do,” she said. “I was lost.”

She wasn't lost for long. Many homeowners think they need to evict squatters through the constable’s office, which takes time and money. If you are the homeowner, and you can provide proof the home is yours, police can immediately rid your home of squatters.

“If it wasn't for that one police officer, Officer Hutchason, I don't know what I would have done,” Chiles said.

Officer Steve Hutchason kicked the squatters out and retrieved Chiles’ home. He says squatters are a huge problem in the valley, especially in the northwest.

“Patrols are getting anywhere from ten to twenty calls a day,” he said.

Getting rid of squatters constitutes half the battle; they often leave thousands of dollars in damage. Chiles’ squatters started a fire with a candle, destroying the home's nearly $400,000 value.

“I might be looking at getting a hundred thousand. I'll be lucky,” she said.

Neighbors and homeowners associations do not have the legal rights to rid a home of squatters, however, if you are living near a bank-owned home that was taken over by squatters, you should call police.

Officer Hutchason says Metro Police is working with some banks to rid homes of squatters. It's not a fast process, but it is working. Call 311 if you know of a squatter problem.

If you have a problem you want 8 on Your Side to investigate, call 702-650-1907.