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Neighbors on Indy’s west side fed up with squatters; county gets involved

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Neighbors in one west side neighborhood say they are fed up with squatters who overstayed their welcome.

For several months, squatters have been living behind a home on South Belmont Avenue. The people living there were evicted from their home nearby and moved outside to the property. They are living in tents and the yard is filled with broken furniture, dirty clothes, TVs, and trash.

Diane Roska, one of the squatters, spoke with CBS4 Problem Solvers at the property Thursday.

"This was only supposed to be temporary. Only a week then it got to be a point where it was like this," Roska said.

Roska claimed to live there with six other people. She said her family fell on hard times and were kicked out of her home a few blocks down on South Sheffield, which left them homeless.

"Me and my husband. My two boys. Another couple stays here and sometimes they stay here and sometimes they don’t-- it varies," Roska said.

Gary Phillips lives across the street. Phillips and his neighbor, who contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers, have been working to get Roska and the other squatters out of the neighborhood.

"They are always arguing about one thing or another," Phillips said.

Phillips says they’ve threatened his neighbor with a BB gun, too.

"It could’ve been a pistol or we didn’t know what it was," Phillips said.

A spokesperson for IMPD told CBS4 Problem Solvers that officers have responded to the property several times but they lack the legal authority to make them leave. It must be the owner.

"The landlord of this place hasn’t even been here to say anything to us. It’s just the police and neighbors complaining to us," Roska said.

The Marion County Health Department received two complaints, most recently  on August 12. An inspector then cited the owner of the property, LAS Investments LLC, for violations. After the department couldn't get a response from the owners, they filed a court case against one of the squatters, Ronald Sander.

"I don’t understand why it would take long to make something happen," Phillips said.

A Marion County Judge recently issued an order for Sander and the people living on the property to vacate the area immediately and for the health department to come clean the property, but there has not been an official date set yet.

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