Monday, January 24, 2022 Jan 24, 2022
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Real Estate

Stealing a Home in East Dallas Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Yes, this really happened in real life.
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Old East Dallas cottage
Cottage Industry: Built in 1923, this little charmer in Old East Dallas near Samuell Grand Tennis Center was apparently too much for squatters to resist. We came to find out they are common, moving from house to house. Tim Rogers

Stealing a Home in East Dallas Isn’t as Hard as You Think

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A mutual friend put me in touch with Mary Glenn, a lawyer who lives in East Dallas with her husband and kids. Our friend told me Mary had a story that I had to hear to believe. She and her husband, Gavin, had bought a small house to renovate and rent over near Woodrow Wilson High. But after closing the sale, when Gavin showed up at the place to start work, he discovered some squatters living there. What happened next boggled my mind. You have to read her story. It first appeared in the January issue of D Magazine, and we are putting it online today. My suggestion: read the story first, then return here for the update I just got from Mary. It follows:

After months of daily phone calls to the court, we finally made it on to the docket and were granted our eviction of John Doe in a five-minute hearing (the squatter was given proper notice and did not show up to the hearing, nor did he appeal, as was his right to do). A constable went out and asked the squatter to leave multiple times, to no avail. In fact, new chains had been added to the front gate. Clearly we were in for a fight.

This first week of January, Gavin went to the house to meet a constable and four deputies, along with our handyman and four of his workers, to escort our squatter to the curb. He barricaded the door and screamed at the authorities that he didn’t care who they were, and he wasn’t leaving. After hours of the squatter’s profanities (“You motherfuckers ain’t about this life,” “Your badge ain’t shit”), physical assault (the police were called, responded, but did not arrest him), and a fake fainting episode (fire truck and ambulance responded, found no medical emergency), Gavin successfully moved every item from the house (including the fridge, the stove, the window units) to the street. The police then made Gavin give a formal statement directly to the squatter. While the guy screamed threats in his face, Gavin said stoically, “I do not want you on my property anymore.”

Gavin came home, emotionally and physically exhausted. The constables and police left. And the squatter was left standing among his few items. The next morning, I drove by, and — thank God — he and his stuff were gone.

I wish I could say this was the end of the story. But, really, we are just back to March 2020, when we bought this place with high hopes. Now we clean up, make the repairs, and create the lovely abode we envisioned. Or we sell it and get out, like our friends think we should. I don’t know yet.