NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., April 25 (UPI) -- A soldier serving in Afghanistan was furious to find that squatters had been living in his home that he left under the care of a neighbor.
When U.S. Army Spc Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he left his home in the care of Lisa Pettus, a neighbor. Pettus hired Julio Ortiz, a handyman she had met through mutual acquaintances, to work on the renovations for the house. It was then that Ortiz and his girlfriend Fatima Cardoso moved into the home and lived rent-free.
The squatting would have gone on longer if Sharkey's wife hadn't visited Florida to prepare the home for their arrival, as their time of being stationed in Hawaii is coming to an end. When Sharkey was informed about the squatters, he demanded that they leave the house.
Ortiz claimed that he had Pettus made a verbal agreement that he would work on the house for rent-free living. Pettus said she made no such agreement, but since Ortiz claimed the agreement was made, police said they would have to verify before the Sharkeys could move back home.
Both Ortiz and Cardoso have criminal records.