Arlington residents say squatters have them living in fear

Arlington residents say squatters have them living in fear »Play Video
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Several homeowners in the Highland View Estates neighborhood of Arlington spent their entire weekend clearing out brush and trees. They're looking for a better view - not of the mountains or water - but of what is terrorizing them from the woods adjacent to their property.

"The tree branches were all the way down to the ground and you could just hear them back there," Alan Churchill said of the squatters. "Everybody's getting scared now and they shouldn't have to."

Churchill and his neighbors says homeless people have set up camp in their neighborhood.

"They stay in people's crawl spaces, attics, leaving drug paraphernalia," said Jon Storms.

Several neighbors blame three homeless people living in the woods and vacant homes in the area with breaking into homes.

Jon Storms' wife Shawna led me through the woods to the encampment they found.

"I don't know what these people are capable of," she said.

Shawna said she and others have found drug paraphernalia back in the woods and they believe the squatters are stealing to support their drug habits.

On Saturday night, two teenagers got a scare when a man came running out of the woods.

"We heard a bunch of noise and we turned around and I turned my flashlight on and somebody, a homeless person was running at us," said Leif Sesby. "It was scary, felt like my head was going to explode, adrenaline."

Most people in this neighborhood added outdoor security lights, even installed house alarms, but they still don't feel safe.

On Sunday they said they discovered a vacant house they believe the homeless people are squatting in. Inside there are disturbing dolls, and books outlining legal rights.

"You know we don't know if they have guns or a knife, or you know if we're chasing them we don't know if we're going to get shot or stabbed," Churchill said.

Police say they are doing all they can, but when officers get the homeless to move on they just set up shop somewhere else.