A Florida man suspected of squatting for months in the residence of a homeowner who was abroad has been arrested.
The homeowner told FOX Orlando he was in New Zealand, where his wife owns property, for seven months and became suspicious when he noticed his electric bill had increased.
The Ocala Police Department said Ze’Moye Brown, 26, had been in the home for months.
When the unidentified homeowner returned from his trip, he saw the door to the house ajar and trashed inside. No one was inside. He called authorities to report several stolen items, including a scooter, guns, tools and his social security card and deed to the house.
He said he slept in a closet in case someone returned.
“I open my eyes, and here’s this guy at the bedroom door, looking straight down at me,” the homeowner said. “I freaked. I jumped up with my pistol and said, ‘Get the f— out of my house!’”
The men then began arguing over who owned the house. Brown said the home had been vacant for three years and screamed at the homeowner to get out. The homeowner fired a shot into the floor and told Brown he would call the police. When officers arrived, they asked if he wanted to press charges.
“I said, ‘I don’t want the guy to go to jail. He reminds me of my son, in a way. Tall, skinny, too smart for his own good, and dumb as a bag of rocks at the same time.”
Brown was arrested earlier this month and is charged with trespassing of an occupied structure, drug possession and marijuana possession. He is being held on $3,500 bail, according to jail records.
He is scheduled to appear in court July 11.