Jesse Jones: Squatters removed from Queen Anne property leave behind stripper pole

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department removed two squatters from Leka Devatha’s Queen Anne Triplex.

“Yes, it’s been a stressful situation,” landlord Leka Devatha said. “And I just feel emotionally relieved. Not just that we got the squatters out, but we are making the neighborhood safe again.”

Devatha is from Redmond but rents out property in Seattle. In October, her property manager, Eric Poll, called her to let her know that a couple had moved into the top floor of her vacant Queen Anne Triplex. When Eric knocked on their door, he said the couple told him they had a lease from the owner.

“They just said they have a lease from the owner and they’re not going to show it to me, and I need to do whatever,” said Poll.

First, Leka decided to confront the couple herself, who were defiant. They told her they would be calling their attorney. Leka and Eric called the Seattle Police Department but it told her she had a civil matter on her hands. They showed officers a lease on their phone, which they say they got from Craigslist.

They also had filed a change of address and were officially receiving mail. They even put out Halloween decorations.

Leka worried that the couple, who never signed a lease or paid her, would be stuck behind the backlog of over 600 cases currently in the King County Landlord/Tenant courts. Owners can be caught up in eviction proceedings for six to nine months.

Davatha’s attorney Synthia Melton said this was a clearcut case of trespassing.

“I was extremely surprised to find out when she said the police said this was a civil matter,” said Melton.

After all, she said, the couple broke in and changed the locks.

“It’s very clear somebody broke the lock, they changed the locks, and they entered a property that they were not authorized to, and now they’re refusing to leave. You know, that’s trespassing, breaking, and entering, whatever you want to call it. It’s not a civil matter,” she said.

Making matters even worse, Leka had noticed her carpet had been ripped out and the couple started remodeling the unit.

“They told me they were doing some plumbing and electrical work so that just leads me to believe they are destroying my property one room at a time,” she said.

A few weeks after Leka’s attorney filed a formal request to toss the alleged trespassers, it took four Seattle Police officers about 45 minutes to remove the squatters.

We requested the police report to identify the alleged trespassers, but they have not released it.

One of the uninvited is from Bellingham and lists herself as an “Only Fans” influencer on LinkedIn.

The couple is now gone. They left behind clothes, a half-eaten cake, and… a stripper pole.

Leka Devatha said she is just glad they are gone.

“I don’t know if she was planning on creating content here or what she was doing, but it’s just scary to think that that’s what they were going to use the unit for,” she said.