SOUTH HILL, Wash. - Squatters usually use vacant houses as a free place to make a home. But the man who set up camp in Ed Saurs’ South Hill home was making a profit, selling his appliances online.
Ed Saurs and his wife, Mary Saurs, moved out of the home after 25 years and relocated to the Olympia area. On Sept. 1 he drove up to the home for a meeting with his real estate agent. He noticed the front door was open and saw a stranger standing inside.
“I asked him what he was doing in my house and he said, 'I’m here to buy the microwave,'” Ed Saurs said. “And I told him my microwave’s not for sale.”
Ed Saurs became suspicious, so he started looking around. “And I took a couple of steps forward into my kitchen and I could see all of my appliances were gone. And I heard running going out the back door.”
Ed Saurs chased a man running out the back door, but he jumped over a fence and escaped. The squatter was caught on a neighbor’s surveillance camera. He also left an electronic trail of ads he has since tried to erase.
Ed Saurs estimates the squatter sold around $5,000 worth of appliances and tools.
Ed Saurs said he's heard of squatters stealing and damaging houses, but never thought it would happen at his home.
“It doesn’t come through until you’re the person chasing after a guy that you know has been in your house stealing your possessions.”
Ed Saurs said the man who came to buy the microwave gave him texts and phone numbers the squatter used as contact information, as well as screen grabs from ads before they were taken down. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.