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UPDATE: Police respond to Summerlin vacant house 5 times in 9 months

Posted at 11:35 PM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 12:11:08-05

UPDATE: Neighbors continue to be worried about two vacant houses across the street from each other in Summerlin.

One has a padlock on the front door and the windows have been blacked out from the inside.

"We heard a lot of screaming and yelling inside the place," said Leanne Candelero, a neighbor on the street and a homeowners association board member.

Candelero and Diana Smith, the HOA president, got neighbors together and called police. They went inside with officers and were horrified.

"I wanted to cry because the house had been so nice," Smith said.

Candelero says the home was torn to shreds.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says it has sent officers to the house five times in the last nine months. They filed an arrest warrant for one of the squatting suspects, but no one was there when they returned.

13 Action News called the mortgage services company in California that owns the house to tell them about the problem. Our message was not immediately returned.

"It's so sad that these banks will let these houses go empty for so long that these squatters pick it up," Smith said.

The house across the street is more newly vacant, and now neighbors are worried the intruders will simply try to resettle.

Smith says five different people in the neighborhood have sold their houses and moved out because of the squatter problem.


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Squatters invade a Summerlin neighborhood, and now homeowners are taking matters into their own hands.

Diana Smith is the Westwood HOA president and two vacant houses in her neighborhood near Sahara Avenue and Town Center Drive have been plagued with squatters.

Smith has become a ringleader of sorts for a community network to stay on top of the problem.

"We actually run them off," Smith said. "We said, 'Show us your papers that you're supposed to be here,' and 'Why are you messing with the locks?'"

Through constant vigilance and repeated calls to police, Smith says the squatters knew neighbors were on to them.

She added five people sold their houses and moved away because of the unwelcome guests.

"It's surprising because I never would've thought that in a nice neighborhood like this that you have people that are just staying for free," said Joe Zikakis, a neighbor.

Smith says she and her vigilant neighbors are hoping to create a more formal neighborhood watch that will work with police.