Transient Takes Squatting to a New Level; Says “I’m building a home”
BROOKSVILLE – During the early 19th Century thousands of migrant Americans moved west in the hopes of starting a new life and fulfilling their dreams of owning land. Unfortunately, most of the western frontier was already owned by the Federal Government but that didn’t stop some would-be settlers from using the land to farm, even though they knew one day government officials would reclaim their property. These nomadic “land sharks” were later referred to as squatters and the act is no less prevalent today than it was 200 years ago.
On Saturday, Brooksville Police made an unusual find on a wooded lot along Hale Ave, while executing an unrelated arrest warrant. According to reports, officers noticed 33-year-old Josephe Ranvel Hawkins trespassing on the heavily wooded lot which is owned by the City of Brooksville. Upon further investigation, officers discovered that Hawkins was living in a tent on the property and had dug a 20’x20’x6’ pit that resembled the beginnings of a residential foundation. When asked what he was doing, Hawkins replied “I’m constructing a residence on the property.” Officers placed Hawkins into custody and charged him with Criminal Mischief for destruction of City Property. After his arrest, Officers discovered glass pipes containing methamphetamine and marijuana residue, as well as baggies containing meth. Hawkins was booked into the Hernando County Jail where he remains behind bars – held on a $5,000 bond.
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