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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Fire Department says last weekend squatters were the cause of a fire at an Irvington strip mall plaza. Not far from there, neighbors say a homeless camp is keeping them up at night.

“They are arguing, fighting, and they got a dog that barks all night long,” says Sandy Sisk who has lived near the trouble property for 50 years, “Go back to my garage to check on it, scared to death they will try to get into it.”

The issues are happening behind a property on the corner of Arlington Avenue and East Washington Street. Neighbors say 25 to 30 squatters live there on and off. We spoke with neighbors and property owners who say since the camp began, they have had catalytic converters stolen, windows smashed in, and people lurking on their property.

Back in 2017, the property owner was hit with three charges related to the mess. One of those charges were in relation to inoperable motor vehicles on the property. Our drone cameras caught glimpse of what is behind a fence on the property, and there are a few cars still back there.

“They had a for sale sign and took it down,” says Sisk, “If they still own it, they should do something about it.”

The Department of Business and Neighborhood Services checked on the property this week. They discovered that the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) already had several cases open from similar complaints. MCPHD is issuing an order for cleanup, and a court case is pending to remove the squatters.

“I believe the police have been called out once or twice because they built a fire,” adds Sisk.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is aware of the situation and is working with the Department of Metropolitan Development on a solution to help the people living there.