Community finds out new neighbor is a squatter who moved in while homeowner was away

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WCMH) — When residents of a close-knit neighborhood in Memphis began seeing an unfamiliar man sitting on the porch of a seemingly vacant home, most assumed he was their new neighbor, but it turns out he was a squatter.

Rachel Rodriguez told WREG she often waved when she saw the man, identified as 61-year-old James Brown, on the porch. She was shocked when she found out the truth.

“I’m really surprised,” she said. “I know that house has been vacant more or less as long as I’ve lived here, 4 or 5 years.”

According to WREG, the actual homeowner had gone on a long trip and returned to find Brown living there. Brown even parked his car in the driveway. Several items from the home were found inside his car, according to the homeowner.

While most neighbors say the house has been empty for a long time, they didn’t expect anything like that to happen in the neighborhood.

“We know each other,” Rodriguez said. “If we’re going out of town, we’ll ask someone to look out for our house and things like that.”

Brown was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary. He is being held on a $50,000 bond and will appear in court again next week.

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