CINCINNATI, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A man who had the locks changed and claimed ownership of an Ohio home while the family was out of town said he has used the same scheme several times before.
A Springdale family, who asked not to be identified, said in court documents Robert Carr changed the locks at their home of 21 years and obtained court documents saying he was laying claim to the home because it had been abandoned, WLWT-TV, Cincinnati, reported Friday.
The family's attorney, Alison Warner, said Carr took over the home while the family members were out of town visiting a dying relative.
"This is stress that has fallen on their shoulders out of nowhere, after the death of a loved one and now they're responsible to answer to this," Warner said.
Carr admitted to WLWT-TV he has followed the same process on dozens of homes.
"When you abandon a property, bam, walk away from it, 'I ain't never coming back. I don't want nothing to do with it,' right? Somebody can come in, 'Oh, mine,'" Carr said.
"I have a team of people who go out and I say make sure the house is empty. If it's empty, change the locks," Carr said.
Carr is currently fighting a breaking and entering charge from one of the homes.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Cornelius said he has seen similar cases in the past.
"They'll come together as groups to receive training, how to conduct some of these schemes from a financial standpoint, to understand what they consider the common law and how they can use that common law for their sovereign purposes," Cornelius said. "I'm not familiar [with] any cases where it's held up in court. I think that it holds up the process of the court's decision."