Neighbors frustrated by squatters at vacant house in KC’s east side

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man on the east side says squatters have threatened to burn his home down for repeatedly reporting them to the city.

Records show there have been dozens of complaints about a vacant house near 29th Street and Askew Avenue.

A city spokesman said complaints about the house date back three years, and during that time, neighbors say the situation has only gotten worse.

Rob Lakatos said trash piling up in the yard has attracted rats, and now he has problems with rodents trying to get into his home next door.

Lakatos said he spotted a squatter breaking in the home Sunday night, and when he confronted the man, he said the squatter threatened to burn his home down for calling the police.

The KC man said when police respond, they never take action to evict squatters.

"They can’t kick the door open because it’s private property," Lakatos said. "I can’t kick the door open to get them out because it’s private property. But the criminals can kick the doors open and change the locks and barricade themselves in the house!"

The city's Neighborhood and Housing Services Division told FOX4 workers have boarded up the house at least half a dozen times only to find squatters return and break in again.

Inspectors said it's important for neighbors to call police as soon as they see someone on the property who doesn't belong, so police can catch them in the act.

A city spokesman said the property owner has been cited multiple times but has never shown up for court. There is a warrant out for his arrest. Lakatos claimed the owner is in prison on an unrelated charge.

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