Unprotected, unhappy in Suffolk

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016

To the editor:

I bought a 160-year-old home in the historic district in Suffolk, because the area was charming and beautiful, and the school was perfect for my son’s IEP needs.

I worked on my house and enjoyed all that the downtown area had to offer for two years, until the day a few boys who had been suspended from school broke into my home and stole $1,700 worth of property.

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The boys were prosecuted, which did absolutely nothing but waste my time and the taxpayers’ money. They will never be made to pay the restitution ordered by the judge.

To get the funds owed me, I would have to petition the court for the parents’ information so I could sue them for the damages. Why? Because the offenders were minors, and their information is sealed, even from the victim.

This was my first encounter with the law protecting the criminal and not the victim.
I decided I wanted to rent my house to a young lady with five kids, who was trying to get on her feet. However, the inspection process to get a certificate of occupancy was never-ending. You would think a house that was just remodeled would pass with flying colors. Not so.

As I stood looking out the window of my newly remodeled bathroom at the dilapidated apartment building next door. I thought, “How is it that they are turning me down over a door lock, but the place next door is OK to rent?”

So I threw in the towel and put the house on the market. 
That’s when some folks took it upon themselves to move into and squat in my house. They pulled up the for sale sign, moved in with no lease and made themselves at home.

I learned about this when the city of Suffolk summoned me to court for having a renter without a certificate of occupancy and for failure to supply water or vacate the property. What? My house is empty!

I sent a locksmith to change the lock, and he was threatened by the illegal squatters. The police were called, and they told us they couldn’t do anything, because it is a civil matter. We needed the sheriff.

We went to the sheriff, who told us we had to evict them. EVICT THEM? It’s my house, and they are there illegally! So once again, the law is protecting the criminal and not the victim.
Yesterday was a sad day for me; I realized we are in a hopeless state of affairs in our country. Our laws protect criminals and punish the people who are hardworking, law-obeying citizens.

Kathleen Kerschl