Squatters take over a house in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) -- New people to any neighborhood are usually welcomed, unless, they unlawfully take over a house on your street.

The former owner of a house on East Cardinal Street in southeast Springfield confirms that the bank owns it. No one should be living there.

However, four months ago, on the day the bank took legal possession of the property, a group of people took physical possession. They've kept people in the neighborhood a bit on edge.

A woman living in the area, we'll refer to as 'Mary', agreed to talk to us only if we concealed her identity for her protection.

"It's just very concerning when something out of the ordinary is happening. They moved in in the middle of the night. This looks like a nice place. I'm just going to kick the door down and it's mine now. That doesn't make sense to me," she explains.

The police have been to the house numerous times for calls like domestic violence and well-being checks.

Neighbors say the people in the house are up mostly during the overnight hours. They've also noticed a lot of other people coming and going from that location.

"Since this has happened, we've just been making sure that our doors and windows are locked. It's just unsafe. I feel very uneasy in the neighborhood now," says 'Mary'.

She says she feels threatened.

"They have no right to be here. They are squatters. It's not a family, it's like a gang. That's what it's like. It's their neighborhood and they're in charge of the whole block is how they act," she says.

The previous owners say the people were somehow able to get utilities in their name. They use it to prove they rightfully live in the house when contacted by police.
The bank finally started the eviction process in February but the people refuse to leave.

'Mary' says, "Every month we would expect that something would be done legally and then another month would go by and still nothing had happened. It's just, I don't know. It's just a very uneasy feeling that this is happening, right now to us in this small quiet neighborhood."

In addition to trying to involve the police, who tell the concerned neighbors this whole situation is a civil matter, they've also alerted their zone council member and Congressman Billy Long. They have yet to see any action taken against their unwanted neighbors. At this point, they feel they are out of options.

"It is very nerve wracking especially with families, young kids are around here. You never know what they're going to be doing," says 'Mary'.

Squatters can take over any house whether it's foreclosed or for sale.

In this case, the original owners says these people somehow got a hold of their personal information. They think this is how they were able to falsify documents to establish residency.

There's very little that can be done in this situation other than a lengthy eviction process through the courts.

Another eviction notice was served at the property Tuesday.