Ignored requests to leave
It's a bizarre case of trespassing, one that takes unwanted house guests to a whole new level. An Omaha woman says people have been living under her porch and ignoring requests to leave.
It's been going on for months at a house near 23rd and H streets that's been converted into apartments. Renters say a homeless man made his own home under the front porch and that he’s had eight to 10 friends over at a time. One even had a bed there.
"It's right in front of our house,” said one resident who didn't want to be identified. “They don't try to hide anything. They sit out here with their alcohol bottles like it's inside."
The renter says until recently, she and her kids would have to walk up the steps above the transient’s make-shift home every day. "When the kids walk up and down, they say things to them and you don't want your kids around any of that."
Asking them to leave didn't work, so she called police multiple times about the unwanted guests.
"It is unusual that this would occur," said Omaha Police Officer Jacob Bettin. "I have not seen it before personally, but there are homeless people out there that are looking for shelter."
Police have to catch the trespassers in the act before they can issue a warning. If trespassers are caught a second time, police can make an arrest. They were able to make two arrests at the apartment building on January 14th.
Cited were transients Craig Daugherty and Ida Hallowell. "These particular individuals indicated that they possibly may be homeless, but with ties to the area,” said Bettin. “That's why they were cited and released."
However, the two were later booked on other outstanding warrants. Hallowell was wanted for failure to appear for an open container violation and Daugherty, who actually lived under the porch, was wanted for failure to appear last October on a previous trespassing violation.
Daugherty has a lengthy history of misdemeanors and is also a convicted felon. He served a year after a 2003 arrest for burglary.
"I understand they have nowhere else to go, but at the same time this is where we have to go," said the tenant. "It's too much at this point."
The loitering seems to have stopped with the recent arrests and she’s relieved for both her own family’s security as well as the safety of those taken into custody.
"Maybe there's something to keep them in there, keep them warm at least. It's sad. It really is sad." Other renters said they didn't mind the man living under the porch and even gave him blankets.
Daugherty will now be given blankets issued by the Douglas County Jail. He was sentenced to 30 days, which breaks down to 23 actual days behind bars. He’ll likely be released the first week of February.
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