A Salt Lake City man who refused to take no for an answer when a woman declined his lowball offer to buy her house faces multiple charges after he claimed the property as his own.
In charges filed last week, prosecutors wrote that police first were called to the house at 737 E. Roosevelt Ave. on Aug. 30 when someone reported a “belligerent person” was inside and was taking things without the owner’s permission. The officer told the man not to reenter or make modifications to the house.
The next day, police were called again and found tools and an open window at the house; prosecutors wrote that the same man admitted he had opened the window, that he did not have permission to be there and that he had previously been warned by police. He was given another warning.
On Sept. 11, police again were called to the home when a neighbor reported a possible burglary. Again they found the man on the property, prosecutors wrote. He admitted he had cut down trees, shrubs and bushes; removed a refrigerator from the house; and installed new deadbolts, police wrote. According to police, items had been removed from the home.
The man told police he’d written to the homeowner offering $90,000 for the house — “an amount which is not reasonable for that area and that market,” prosecutors wrote. According to Salt Lake County assessor’s records, the market value of the home is more than $363,000.
When the man did not receive a response to his offer, he went to the woman’s current home, prosecutors wrote. She refused to sell him the house and later told police the man threatened her and told her “he would forge any document needed to get the property from her,” the charges state. She told police she had removed nothing from the house and that her keys no longer worked in the locks, prosecutors wrote.
“The victim in this case, who is an elderly woman, has expressed fear to the police about what the defendant may do,” police wrote.
Police once again told the man not to enter the house and sent him a follow-up email with the same warning. In an email reply that day, the man admitted he’d locked the gate to the house with his own chain and lock.
A day later, the man sent the officer another email, writing that he wanted to remove more plants from the yard “just as long as it builds my case to gaining title to the house,” according to the charges. He also admitted he removed the contents of the home; removed the wood covering a broken window; and “upgraded” the deadbolts.
The man also asked for the police officer’s help to get the water turned on at the house, “complaining … that they wouldn’t turn the water on until he could prove that he owned the property,” prosecutors wrote.
On Sept. 20, he sent an email to police admitting he left the lights on at the house; put mulch in the yard and put air in the tires of the vehicles in the driveway, according to the charges.
Other neighbors told police they had seen the man coming and going from the house, removing items and working in the yard — and that he claimed to have bought the house for $5,000, charges state. One neighbor said he helped remove the refrigerator after the man convinced him he owned the house. Another said the man showed her “a large collection of CDs in his own house … that he had taken from the 737 residence,” prosecutors wrote.
According to neighbors, the man said he had contacted Rocky Mountain Power and gotten the electricity turned on to an account he controls, and he was “thinking about finding a way to get the water” turned on “by forging a note” from the owner, prosecutors wrote.
According to the charges, the man signed an application Aug. 30 for water service in which he “purports to be the owner” of the home.
The man was charged with burglary and forgery, both third-degree felonies; class A misdemeanor stalking; and theft, criminal mischief and three counts of criminal trespass, all class B misdemeanors. A warrant for the man’s arrest was issued on Friday; as of Monday morning, he was not in custody.