BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Lovejoy Councilman Richard Fontana summoned Buffalo Police, after learning from News 4 and neighbors a crew of suspected squatters had taken over a house on Troupe Street.
"These crackheads are not going to be taking over these homes in Seneca Babcock," Fontana said.
The police raid on Friday was touched off by Call 4 Action report the night before regarding a man named "David" who was posing as the landlord of the home on Craigslist and conning would-be renters, like Shamika Ceasar, into handing over security deposits.
"He said whoever comes with the rent money first, they've got the house. I said, okay, how much do you want for it? He said $650," Ceasar said.
We've since learned some victims have shelled out as much as $1,300 to "David." A woman who answered the door told News 4 she knew about Ceasar, but denied knowing anything about "David."
"I already heard about her. She rented off a scammer," the woman said. "I have no clue who it is."
That woman and her boyfriend were gone by the time police showed up at the front door, as well as another man, identified by neighbors as the man who called himself "David."
Councilman Fontana told News 4 all three are squatters were taking advantage of a family's misfortune.
He said, "Kicking out the squatters right off the bat, and we are going to board up this house, and reclaim this property for the owner's family. Because the owner is now deceased but his family still has a right to have this house."
The owner of record for the house died nearly three years ago. Another family member moved in, was hospitalized, and he died a short time ago.
"This is really disheartening because the gentleman here went to the hospital, died in the hospital, and these morons think they can just take over his house, without anybody doing anything about it," Fontana said. "But we are doing something about it tonight."
If you believe you were ripped off in this Troupe Street rent scam, you can Call 4 Action at 879-4900.
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