OCALA, Fla. - An Ocala man is now facing criminal charges after police say he spent months squatting in a house while the homeowner was abroad.
The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, says he was in New Zealand, where his wife owns property, for seven months. He started getting suspicious when he noticed his electric bill going up.
When he got back home finally, he saw his door was ajar and the home had been absolutely trashed.
He felt like someone had been staying there, but didn’t see anyone inside the house when he arrived. He decided to sleep in a closet that night, just in case someone returned.
He called the police to report some stolen items, including an electric scooter, guns, tools, and documents like his social security card and the deed to his house.
He decided to sleep in the closet, just in case someone showed up. Someone did.
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"I open my eyes, and here’s this guy at the bedroom door, looking straight down at me," the homeowner recounted. "I freaked. I jumped up with my pistol and said get the f*** out of my house!"
Ocala Police say 26-year-old Ze’Moye Brown had been in the home for months.
The police report recounts the two arguing over who owns the house.
"‘You don’t belong here, you don’t own this house! This house has been vacant for three years,’" the homeowner remembers Brown saying. "I’m repeating myself: ‘Get the F out of my house!’"
The homeowner fired a shot into the floor.
Now he starts saying, ’You can’t do that, you’re going to jail! I’m going to call police!’ I said, ‘Go, good, call police.’ And he did."
When police asked the homeowner if he wanted to press charges, he said at first he just asked if Brown could just be trespassed.
"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 wound up being charged with trespassing, plus possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. He has a court date coming up July 11th.