(NationalUSNews.com) — Arizona authorities recently arrested an accused squatter who allegedly moved into a deceased man’s home and sold his SUV. According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, 45-year-old Michael Macinnis forged documents to sell the deceased Cordes Lakes’ vehicle illegally. Authorities also claim that Macinnis moved into Lakes’s home in May 2023 and squatted in the house while forging documents and misrepresenting himself as the Lakes’ estate’s legal representative.
Macinnis also allegedly forged documents to appear as the owner of Lakes’s Chevy Tahoe, which he attempted to sell to a man in Flagstaff, Arizona. Upon learning about Macinnis’ various forgeries and his illegal occupation of the Lakes residence, police tried to arrest the unlawful occupant on January 3rd. Macinnis allegedly resisted arrest by hurting a deputy with a metal door and taking a large amount of fentanyl. Reports indicate that Macinnis swallowed approximately 40 fentanyl pills shortly before his arrest, prompting police to pump his stomach to prevent an overdose.
Police transported Macinnis to a hospital following his attempts to resist arrest and charged him with nine different felonies upon his release. Authorities charged Macinnis with aggravated assault due to his involvement in a deputy’s injuries and several charges related to the alleged forgeries and fraud. Macinnis’ arrest comes as squatting incidents become increasingly common throughout the United States, raising concerns about law enforcement’s failure to stop illegal occupations.
One such incident occurred in Philadelphia, where squatters forced a homeowner to pay over $1,000 to have his property vacated. According to the homeowner, Philadelphia police are encouraging squatters by letting them illegally occupy other citizens’ property. Authorities told Chris Harte, the homeowner, that police couldn’t remove the squatter living on his property due to city policy. Harte eventually paid the squatter $1,200 after they demanded $2,000, and they vacated the property.
Another similar incident occurred in Fort Worth, Texas, but resulted in a deadly fire that killed two people. According to Fort Worth authorities, 35-year-old Kristen Lewis illegally occupied a vacant apartment building alongside three others. Lewis allegedly set the apartment on fire after an argument with her fellow squatters, resulting in two of the illegal occupants dying. The incident involving Lewis and her fellow squatters and Macinnis’s alleged crimes are examples of why citizens feel state legislatures should implement stricter anti-squatting laws. Without interference from law enforcement, similar incidents will likely occur.
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