Well, No, they didn’t.
You never hear about Philadelphia’s Mayor, Jim Kenney, having his house stolen by squatters. That is probably because it has never happened. Squatters know that it would not be allowed to happen. If the mayor came home from being away one day and found squatters occupying the premises, the police would have the bums in cuffs and charged with Criminal Trespass in the blink of an eye. That is how it should be for any situation of that kind in the City. If you steal a house, you get arrested.
Yet, when the property at 1301 Wakeling Street (right across from Frankford High School) was taken over by squatters in the 3rd week of March, why did the Conservator (Scioli Turco), working on behalf of the Northwood Civic Association, have to go to court to have the crooks legally evicted? Why should the victim of this crime suffer further loss?
Why didn’t the police just throw the bums out when they were called on the first day when they were called to the property? It is the theft of a house. But that is not the way it happened. Instead it took 3 weeks for the legal process to get them out.
Joe Krause, President of the Northwood Civic Association, has been working to bring this property back from near extinction, since 2015. Last year, after battling the absentee owner for two years in court, the Conservator was appointed, and work began to rehab it and get it back onto the market as a single-family home. Great progress was made. Until somebody stole it and held up the project for three weeks.
Its back in the hands of the Conservator now and work must be done to repair the damage. Three weeks of time lost in the battle to keep the neighborhood a decent place to live.
What will happen the next time squatters take over a house? It could be yours.