Neighbors: Family still squatting in $2 million Sandy Springs mansion

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

Some Sandy Springs homeowners tell Channel 2 Action News they're fed up that a family of squatters has been allowed to live in a $2 million mansion, despite the owner's request to have them evicted.

Channel 2's Mike Petchenik was outside the Cross Gate Drive home Thursday when a pickup truck dropped off two people to the home. Neither would comment as they walked inside and locked the door behind them.

"They are squatters and I'm furious," said neighbor Lesley Glazer. "My entire neighborhood is furious."

Glazer said her neighbors have been complaining to the county since the family moved in several months ago.

"They are brazen," she said. "They are in and out as if they own the place and it's very, very scary for all of us."

In November, Sandy Springs police said a woman living in the house told them she had a lease and would provide it to authorities. Police said she never provided the lease.

Bank of America, which owns the foreclosed home, told Petchenik it initiated proceedings to have the family removed, but neighbors contacted Petchenik this week to say they were still there.

Bank of America shares the hopes of neighbors that this matter will be resolved quickly,” Bank of America Spokesman Richard Simon told Petchenik in an e-mailed statement.  “We have taken appropriate actions that provide the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department with the legal authority to resolve this in the most efficient and timely manner, without the need for court action.  The sheriff’s department and our attorney remain in contact today, and we are assured that the Sheriff is diligently acting on the intruder proceeding we initiated in early December, having already completed service of the necessary papers.

Neighbor Teddy Wiegand said he's concerned by the whole situation.

"The lack of action and the silence from authorities is disturbing," he said.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan sent Petchenik a statement on the situation:

"Considering the current information available to Fulton County Sheriff's Office, the attorney should continue the lawful process by filing a request for eviction of the person with a Fulton County Superior Court judge or request a hearing concerning the affidavit filed (concerning the intruder)."

Real estate attorney David Metzger told Petchenik if the family is there illegally, law enforcement should have no issue removing them from the property. But, he said if there's question about whether they're there legitimately, it's common to be more cautious.

"If there's any question whatsoever, it's very common for the Sheriff's office to say, 'You're going to have to get authority from the courts directing us to proceed in a particular fashion,'" he said.

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