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Posted: April 24, 2014

Soldier battles to remove squatters from home


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            Soldier battles to remove squatters from home
Stock image via Getty Images

By Cox Media Group Web Staff

NEW PORT RICHIE, Fla. —

A deployed soldier got quite a surprise when he discovered squatters had taken over his Florida home, according to reports from WFLA.  

Spc. Michael Sharkey said he had a friend keep an eye on his home while he was deployed in Afganistan two years ago.  

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WFLA reported the friend, Lisa Pettus, admitted to meeting the man, Julio Ortiz, who agreed to help fix Sharkey's home while he was deployed.  Pettus said she gave Ortiz the supplies and that Ortiz and his girlfriend were never left alone in the house. 

Two months later, WFLA reported, Pettus checked on the home, and found Ortiz and his girlfriend living there, claiming they had a verbal agreement with Pettus to fix up the home while living there rent-free, which Pettus disputes.

Ortiz changed the locks and refused to leave.

According to the Daily Mail, Sharkey's wife flew from their current duty station in Hawaii, and went to the home with police, who said they couldn't do anything because of the supposed verbal agreement and that it was a civil matter. 

The story came to light on Monday.  By Wedneday, WFLA reported Ortiz was moving out after the story went viral online, gaining support and even assistance for Sharkey to get Ortiz out of Sharkey's home. 

The Daily Mail reports that Sharkey was planning to move into the home later this year. 

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