Locksmith: Squatters have pulled knives on me and more

Rob Zaruba works for the banks changing locks on foreclosed home.

Ever since the recession, his job has become more dangerous because of squatters. He'll sometimes find people living in homes that are supposed to be empty.

"We've come across where people come at us with knives, bats, pit bulls and more, so as you confront them and see that, you just walk away and call police," said Zaruba.

On Wednesday, he was at a home that was supposed to be vacant but there was a car and a moving truck parked in the driveway.

"LVMPD came out, the real estate agent came out, found out it was a young couple and three kids from California," said Zaruba. "They actually had half the stuff moved in."

In this case, Zaruba said the tenants had no idea they were squatters.

"They had a fake lease which they didn't know was fake," he said.

Zaruba has seen this scam before. Thieves break into unsecured realty lock boxes, take the keys and rent the home online. They typically deal only in cash. After they get the money, they're gone.

Zaruba said it was the third time squatters have been removed from this home. He's warning the public to be aware because he doesn't see an end in sight.

"It's going to be an ongoing problem until they catch the group that's doing this," he said.

LVMPD is trying to find those responsible but these thieves usually use false names and documents so they're hard to track down.

The key to staying safe is staying vigilant, asking for proper identification and looking through any paperwork thoroughly.

As far as the couple, they are being allowed to stay in the home while they find another place to live.

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