DeKalb County

Group accused of squatting in DeKalb home says they were conned; homeowner relieved they’re gone

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies responded Monday to evict suspected squatters from a house whose owner said they broke into illegally and changed the locks.

“I’m frustrated, but I’m glad I was able to get it resolved,” homeowner Paul Callins told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.

Callins inherited the house on Ashton Oak Circle from his father who died of cancer two years ago.

He spent thousands renovating the large home with his own hands and posted an online ad seeking government-subsidized tenants.

He believes the people entered his vacant house nine days ago after seeing the ad and created a fake lease which they showed to police.

“They had it on their phone. It wasn’t a lease document. It was clearly fake,” Callins said.

As movers hauled out furniture and other accessories belonging to those evicted, Regan tried to get an explanation from a man who was living in the house with his wife and child -- among others.


He claimed he was conned by a phony leasing agent. He declined to give his name to Regan.

“Check this out, we rented this property. We didn’t change the locks. No one on our behalf, whoever we rented through changed the locks. We got scammed. I do not burglarize. I’m in school for film production,” the man said.

Callins scoffed at the man’s story.

“He’s claiming he was scammed. I don’t believe it,” Callins said.

Deputies didn’t arrest any of those living in the house, but they will not be allowed to return.

“I’m very relieved. They have a 4-year-old. It’s unfortunate for a child to be in that situation,” Callins said.

Georgia lawmakers are nearing passage of a new law that would criminalize squatters as trespassers and make the use of a fraudulent lease a felony.


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