Squatters found living in Windsor man’s garage
Published Thursday, October 24, 2019 9:24AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, October 24, 2019 8:05PM EDT
WINDSOR -- A Windsor man says homeless people are living in his garage.
Scott Payne says he seldom uses his garage but when he went inside on Sunday, he found a mattress, food, weapons and hundreds of hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia.
"We found many weapons. When we opened the bags there were hatchets and this and that," says Payne. “I found an apartment full of hypodermic needles and garbage and stolen property and people's personal belongings."
Payne's home is located in the 600 block of Hall Ave. just off of Wyandotte St. E.
He lives at the home with two teenagers and is afraid of what would have happened if they met up with the squatters.
"If my kid came out to go get the dog or whatever, he would be right out here and he'd be fighting and he would get hurt," says Payne.
The Windsor man claims about $2,000 worth of tools and gardening equipment were taken from his garage but he did find other items that he believes are items stolen from other homes.
Payne tells CTV News and AM800 News he was homeless himself growing up, but would have never done anything like this.
"I grew up a homeless kid. To the homeless people, I don't hate you for trying to get warm, but don't endanger my safety and don't steal my things," says Payne. "I don't hate you, I understand. For the other people, please be understanding and helpful to them, but also protect yourself."
Payne claims to have called the police on two separate occasions but was told it was not a criminal matter as his garage is not attached to his home.
He was told by police if someone was found on his property, they would be charged with trespassing.
“If I police this matter myself, potentially it's me that becomes criminal," he says.
But police say residents in this scenario should definitely call police.
"The law treats your home like your castle,” Sgt. Steve Betteridge says. “And there are laws to protect your castle, to protect your home, to protect your property. In a case like this would be investigated as a break and enter."
Payne hopes this story will move residents into action to watch out for their neighbours.
"We have to somehow, as a community, come together and keep each other safe. If you see something off base go knock on their door, try and be neighbourly," says Payne.
Stats from city hall show 444 people are currently experiencing some form of homelessness in Windsor -- 291 of them are considered chronically homeless. 5,700 people are also on a growing wait list for social housing.
"These could have been someone's good kids at some point,” Payne says. “What they're doing and where it's leading them is dangerous, unsafe, and we have to start somehow as a community addressing these situations and appealing to lawmakers and policy makers to ensure this is criminal."