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‘Squatter’s deal’ leads to felony charges

A convicted felon, who was arrested last week after discovered squatting in a South Kitsap home, was charged Dec. 2 in Kitsap County District Court.

Douglas Keith Card, 44, Port Orchard, was charged with one count of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and one count of first-degree possession of stolen property. He also is wanted on three outstanding warrants of arrest.

Card was arrested Nov. 27 and is in the Kitsap County Jail. His total bail is more than $337,000.

KCSO spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the Special Investigations Unit developed information that a man was squatting in a vacant house on Bayview Drive SE.

Wilson said the home had been unoccupied for several years and that neighbors confirmed that a photograph of the subject — wanted on three outstanding warrants — was the same person that moved into the vacant house. Neighbors also confirmed that two vehicles — a black-colored Honda car and an older model truck — were driven by the man.

On Nov. 26, deputies and detectives set containment around the home and the occupants were alerted to police presence.

Charging papers stated Card attempted to flee out a rear door, but was met by the containment detail. He turned and ran back inside.

“After several verbal announcements were made the man left the house and surrendered,” Wilson said. “Sheriff’s personnel then conducted a security sweep to ensure no one else was inside.”

Wilson said while investigators were conducting a search of the home, they noticed something unusual — the vacant house contained all new furnishings. Investigators began researching recent past police investigations where furniture had been reported stolen. Two reports that matched the criteria were found and interior photographs of the furnished homes were on an Internet website.

“The realtor for both homes (listed for sale) was contacted and confirmed that “staging furniture” in the two homes was stolen,” Wilson said.

He said the estimated value of the missing furniture was more than $5,000.

A comparison of the items on the website photographs matched the furnishings and decorations found inside the vacant house where the warrant subject, and others, had taken up residency.

Wilson said a check on the Honda showed the car was reported stolen Oct. 20 from Harrison Avenue SE.

A search warrant was issued on the house, vehicles and detached building. Detectives discovered methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a stolen 9-mm handgun.

Wilson said the man told detectives that the vacant house doesn’t belong to him and that his residency was a “squatter’s deal” and that his 23-year-old girlfriend moved in about two weeks previous, along with another woman with a child.

The water and electrical power utilities to the vacant house were activated under his girlfriend’s name.

Wilson said detectives contacted the legal property owner who confirmed the house is unoccupied and that no permission was granted to anyone to reside there.

Deputies found the girlfriend Nov. 27 at a South Kitsap apartment complex and she was taken into custody. She confirmed living in the vacant house with her boyfriend and added that they both committed burglaries to houses listed for sale, and removed the “staging furniture” from the unoccupied homes to furnish the vacant house on Bayview Drive, Wilson added.

Court records stated Card was booked into Kitsap County Jail and charged with residential burglary, first-degree possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.

The woman also was booked and charged with residential burglary, first-degree possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine. Her bail was set at $50,000.

Persons with information or questions about this investigation, or similar incidents, are asked to contact Detective Lori Blankenship at 360- 337-5615.

 

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