St. Petersburg man gets stolen house back but may lose it again

Better Call Behnken

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – First, Tony Heh, lost his house in what the state attorney’s office calls fraudulent deed scam in 2016

Two years later, after a Better Call Behnken investigation exposed the shady deal, Heh got his house back.

But now, he’s on the verge of losing it again.

This time, the city of St. Petersburg filed in April to foreclose liens from code violations on the home. One of the outstanding violations: charred, stolen cars left in the backyard.

“I’m stuck,” Heh said. 

Heh got his house back in September, after a judge order. But the house was burned inside and out and trash was littered everywhere. St. Petersburg police took a truck and motorcycle with a stolen tag, but they left three vehicles for Heh to take care of. 

Heh says he can’t get rid of them because salvage yards that recycle cars won’t take these them because they were stolen. He says the police department investigation is ongoing and investigators won’t give him a release to scrap the cars. 

Heh says he is turned away everywhere he goes. 

“They can’t do anything,” Heh said. “Because the case is active, they can’t cut. If they cut, they violate the law.”

A spokesman for the city’s code enforcement office said the violations started in 2013, related to the home being occupied without a required inspection. 

The fees and penalties are now $12,000. In addition to the cars, the remaining violations are about peeling paint on the side of the house, a detached, deteriorated garage and debris on the lawn.

After questions from the Better Call Behnken, the city said it would try to get a city contractor to tow away the cars. Meanwhile, Heh has a hearing in his code enforcement case next week. 

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