An Ohio man has been arrested for breaking into the home of a family who was out of town and claiming it as his own.
When a family returned to their Springdale, Ohio, home after spending some time away to care for a sick relative, they found the locks had been changed and their belongings had been removed.
It was unclear how long they had been away.
“I have a team of people who go out and I say make sure the house is empty. If it’s empty, change the locks,” Robert Carr told WLWT.
The family members, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear for their safety, said that when they confronted Carr, he showed them a “quiet title” he had filed in court claiming the family had abandoned the house.
Ohio state code defines a quiet title as an action brought by a person in possession of real property against a person who has an “interest” adverse to the complainant for the purpose of determining what the “interest” is.
Carr claimed that he lived in the house and everyone knew he lived there, and that he had lived there long enough to make it his without a financial obligation to the family or the bank, according to WLWT.
“When you abandon something, you forfeit all your rights and title to it, and title is not a piece of paper, title is when you grab it and say ‘Mine,’” Carr said.
The TV station also found that Carr has filed the same paperwork on 11 houses. In seven cases, the paperwork had been filed on the same day.
Carr was charged with breaking and entering in one case of disputed ownership and is being held on more than $40,000 bond.