GREENBUSH – Penobscot County’s district attorney and a local landlord want people to know that squatters are more common than people think.
Greenbush resident Albert Weatherbee said Thursday he helped out an elderly couple and that’s how he met two of the five recently arrested in Bangor for squatting – Kimberly Hardy, 40, and her 18-year-old son, Christopher Campbell.
The friends lived in his log cabin and sometime last year Hardy and Campbell moved in but didn’t leave after the couple left.
“The daughter and the grandson stayed and despite of my asking them to leave, they didn’t find anyplace to live,” Weatherbee said, seated in his living room. “They kept promising they would.”
For more than four months Weatherbee attempted to get the squatters to leave. He knew they didn’t have any money and later learned his generosity would hurt him.
“They had not only sold everything on my property that was worth anything of any money at all, but they were also selling the insides of the building and they had cut the water heater off and sold that,” Weatherbee said. “They were now taking anything of any value and selling it to get drug money.”
When the house was finally boarded up, evidence of a meth lab was found.
“They were doing what was called shake-and-bake and they were actually making the drugs in that house,” Weatherbee said.
He added, “The inside of it … was completely trashed. I mean they had been in there with no electricity and no water.”
Weatherbee never pressed charges, he said, because “it’s hard to get cash from a turnip.”
District Attorney Marianne Lynch said she sees more cases involving squatters in Maine during the wintertime.
She added the five Bangor squatters arrested this week had destroyed property and left behind evidence of serious drug use.
“It does focus again on the need to have services for our homeless population and additional services for people who are struggling with addiction issues,” Lynch said.
The 92-year-old former NASA engineer said he believes the county’s leaders have to invest in solving the drug epidemic, just like they invested in putting a man on the moon.
“There has got to be a way,” Weatherbee said. “Why aren’t they bringing these scientists in and coming up with a, for want of a better word, a vaccine?”