"Housing crisis? What housing crisis?" That's what I imagine 39-year-old Jeremiah Kaylor asked after taking up residence — for free — inside a gorgeous San Francisco mansion.
According to San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Carlos Manfredi, Kaylor has spent the last two months squatting in a long-vacant mansion on the 3800 block of Washington Street, which is between Maple and Cherry Streets in Presidio Heights. Kaylor wasn't found out until someone contacted police reporting a "suspicious person" at the home at 11 p.m. Saturday, Manfredi says, but when police arrived, "He produced some type of documents saying that he was going to be the owner or proprietor to this house and he was in the process."
Kaylor didn't have a criminal record in California, and officers couldn't immediately track down the home's real estate agent or owners to verify Kaylor's claims, which is understandable since it was late on a Saturday night! So, they left.
On Sunday morning the real estate agent got back to the cops, saying Kaylor's tale was baloney. Both the agent and the police headed back to the house, where Manfredi says Kaylor was outside loading artwork from the home into a moving van.
When the real estate agent checked out the house, he realized that 11 paintings that had been in the residence were missing, with a total value of around $300,000.
Manfredi says that between Sunday and Monday, investigators tracked down a total of nine of the artworks, which Manfredi says were sold to buyers through Facebook and to local pawn shops for "nowhere near the range of what the value of these paintings are worth.” He says they expect the other two missing paintings to turn up shortly.
Though Manfredi refused to give the address of Kaylor's alleged squat, the Chron reports that they believe that the residence is a "'single family home' listed at just over $17 million — and that’s after being cut from the original asking price of $25 million when it first went on the market in 2012."
Neighbors told ABC7 that "the 14 bedroom, 11 bath home has been vacant for years," with one saying that "there's been a disassociation between the owner of the property and somebody who has a responsibility for doing something with it."
It's still unclear if this was an alleged crime of opportunity for Kaylor, whose last known address is Dragoon, Arizona, or if this was a scam he'd pulled before.
“For a person to generate some type of documentation, some type of form that shows that he has some proprietary rights to stay in this house," Manfredi says, "it is a little more sophisticated than the average squatter."
But even now, Kaylor remains immune to SF's housing difficulties. According to Manfredi, the suspected squatter was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of burglary and 10 counts of burglary, where he remains at publication time.