Trashed Out – Evicted Tenants See Belongings Stolen on Video “I Can’t Watch Any More”
Thieves Pilfer Family Possessions After Renters Displaced
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — About 3,300 times last year in Jefferson County, crews moved in to carry out court-ordered evictions or foreclosures.The scenes are sad, and the landlords are mad because they’re often owed a lot of money, but a bad situation only got worse when WLKY took a hidden-camera look at what can happen.Watch The Story
“We schedule about 65 a week,” Sgt. Mike Littlefield with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said of serving eviction notices. “If we do one every hour, five days a week, we could do 3,500 a year. There are days when we can do 15-25 evictions in a day.
“Foreclosure filings in Jefferson County went up again, from 4,719 in 2008 to 5,145 last year.
“We’re there, we’re taking away one of life’s necessities,” Littlefield said.
“Electricity’s turned off,” said Deputy Norman Miracle. “You don’t know what people go through.
“One property owner suggested WLKY take a closer look at evictions.
“If you come behind it, a TV station comes behind these evictions, you would see it’s almost like, for a better word, vultures coming to the kill and taking what they want,” said landlord Warren Jackel.
April 2, which was Good Friday, was a bad day for a family evicted from a house on Waycross Avenue — four months behind in rent payments, according to the paperwork.
Under the surveillance of the Sheriff’s Department, the crew hired by landlord Clay Foreman, who also happens to be mayor of Jeffersontown, carried a house full of possessions out into the yard and carefully placed some of the items in a storage pod rented by the people being evicted.
“We’ll watch it as long as we’re here. We’re only going to be here until everything is set out, so hopefully nobody will take these people’s belongings,” said Deputy Danny Beard.
Deputies said they post signs at every eviction, warning thieves that “anyone who tampers with or removes any of this property within 48 hours will be subject to criminal prosecution.
“Ninety minutes later, after most of the stuff was hauled out of the house, the deputies and WLKY’s photographer left for the next scheduled eviction.
No one knew WLKY’s John Boel was parked down the street in a surveillance van.
It started small, as scavengers dug through the family’s movie collection, taking the ones they seemed to want to their vehicles parked on the street.
One man put framed pictures in his car, Boel said, and after a table and more DVDs were removed, the scavengers made several trips, putting stereo speakers and other audio equipment components in a vehicle.
A television was also plucked from the pile and loaded up, as were several other items, including something that appeared to be a piece of china.
WLKY tracked down the evicted couple and showed them the video.
“That’s my, that’s my mom’s vase?” said evicted tenant Ashley Wells. “No, it’s that platter, I think my mom’s china platter… My $20 DVDs, go ahead. No, the sheriffs already left. That’s why they’re robbing us blind.
“The former tenants said they knew a lot of their belongings were missing, but they didn’t know why.
“Speakers. That’s the Surround Sound that came out of that armoire that’s currently in the pod. See, all that came out of the pod. That’s all I have to my name. That’s it. Whatever they decided to put in there.
“The interview ended when she saw workers throwing valuables in the Dumpster and smashing some of her belongings.
“See that piñata? My dad bought it for me. He’s dead. I’m going to tell you watch (the video),” Wells said. “I can’t watch any more.”