Woman accused of breaking into house and moving in - WFLA News Channel 8

Woman accused of breaking into house and moving in

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Deputies say a woman is in trouble for moving into a stranger's house, changing the locks, and calling it home.

Jeanella Pollock, 51, of Hillsborough County, is facing charges of burglary and grand theft. Investigators say she moved into the Riverview home with her children and husband, who is a Manatee County Sheriff's deputy. He is not facing any charges but investigators are still looking into what role he might have played into settling in the home.

So how did it happen?

Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon says Jeanella Pollock filed a notarized Adverse Possession on February 15th through the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office. Adverse Possession is an old law that some people misunderstand and misuse, McKinnon says.

"This is a case where people assume they can take over somebody else's property through this law that came back since the 1920s," McKinnon said. "It's simply not the case. We're not going to tolerate people who are breaking into homes."

A News Channel 8 investigation initially revealed the larger problem in February 2011. Now deputies are cracking down on "squatters" who try to use the law for vacant homes like those for sale or are in foreclosure.

"We've drawn a line here in the sand in Hillsborough County and anyone who thinks they can break into somebody's home and squat - it's just not going to happen," McKinnon said. "You're going to end up going to jail."

In this case, the legal homeowner, Sharon Bond, had temporarily moved out of state. She had an ailing husband and ran into some financial problems. She was working on moving back to her home on Potomac Circle in Riverview. She learned about the problem when The Property Appraiser's Office sent a letter to her in Alabama advising of Pollock's filing.

Bond came home and was surprised to find what had happened.

"They were very defiant and were like 'what are you talking about' and this is not your house...acting like they owned it," Bond said in a July 27th interview with News Channel 8. "I'm exhausted and relieved that the Sheriff's {Office} stood up for the homeowners and enforced the law."

Investigators believe Pollock hired a locksmith to change the locks back in February and also turned on the water and electricity at the house.

"She found our house on property records," said Julie Norwood, the homeowner's daughter. "I hope the public is aware that this is going on and that neighbors watch because ... the neighbors knew something was going on and they did call some people but nothing was really done."

Jeanella Pollock and her family have since moved out of the house and relocated. Deputies arrested her on Thursday but she has since bonded out of jail.

News Channel 8 reached out to the Pollock family to get their side of the story Friday, but they did not want to comment.

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