3 arrested after allegedly squatting in vacant home

Three men were arrested and one cited after Grass Valley Police officers responded to a report of possible squatters inside a vacant residence.

The owner of the house in the 100 block of Colfax Avenue called police after a neighbor alerted him that the garage door was broken and people had been seen around the residence, said Officer Brian Blakemore.

The owner, who lives out of the area, was planning on renting the residence out, Blakemore said.

He contacted Grass Valley Police, and officers accompanied him to the residence at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

A man identified as Stephen Woodward allegedly was in the front yard and was cited on suspicion of trespassing.

Three men were located inside the house, Blakemore said.

Samuel Raymond Smith, 20, was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, booked and released on $1,000 bail.

James Michael Kaufmann, 46, allegedly was found with a syringe in his backpack. He was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and possessing drug paraphernalia, booked and released on $1,750 bail.

James Michael Powers, 56, allegedly had a syringe on his person. He also was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and possessing drug paraphernalia, booked and released on $1,750 bail.

All of the men were transients, Blakemore said.

Finding squatters in vacant residences is an ongoing issue, Blakemore said, adding that it is a crime that sometimes goes unreported.

He recommended taking steps to obscure the fact that a residence might be unoccupied, such as canceling mail service and keeping yards maintained.

“Try to drive by or stop by at least once a week,” he said.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated May 5, 2013 10:18PM Published May 13, 2013 12:16PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.