'Everyone else knows they're doing something wrong'

'Everyone else knows they're doing something wrong'
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Homeowners were already fed-up, but now they are even more frustrated.

After KOMO News reported on the homeowners' fight against thieves and squatters, they ran into more trouble on Monday.

Jon Storms says he and his neighbors spotted two suspected squatters coming out of a vacant house after dark.

"I grabbed the guy and threw him into the car, and he pretended like, 'I don't know what you're talking about,"' Storm said. "Bull."

Storms found a deadbolt lock on the property and believes someone switched it out to get in.

"We really are frustrated by this," said Arlington spokesperson Kristen Banfield. "This is a difficult problem to address, because they move from one community to another."

The vacant home is just one of several empty houses in the neighborhood. Quillan Renee Ely lives next to one where two men were living.

"I gave them cookies. Then a couple days after that, the police were here and said they weren't supposed to be living here," Ely said.

The owner of the vacant home says he did not give anyone permission to live in the house. He believes the squatters have left behind stolen electronics. The neighborhood saw a number of thefts over the summer.

"(Thieves) took a big knife out that I had for protection. They took a radio," said Ely. "There are thieves that are rummaging through the neighborhood,"

The neighborhood is fighting to take its security back. It was once a place where people felt safe leaving their doors unlocked. But now neighbors say they were forced to thin out the woods behind their homes to expose the homeless people they say are living back there.

"The legalities of it is what's frustrating," said Storm. "Because the cops know they're doing something wrong. Everyone else knows they're doing something wrong."

Police say there is one positive note -- neighbors say they're getting to know each other better, and banding together against crime.