On July 17, Leslie Carter walked with her son toward the front door of the house she was renting and had been recently evicted from. She noticed that some fishing gear that had been in her garage was near the mailbox. The front door, which had been nailed shut, was open, and the white metal security door that was behind it had been bent back.
Inside, the house was in disarray, with furniture moved about in her absence. One of Carter’s son’s swords, of which he is an avid collector, was in the middle of the kitchen floor, not in his bedroom. In his bedroom, his “brand-new, never-been-used” bass guitar was gone, Carter said. A Bose speaker system was gone, leaving only a “square on the floor” where there was no dust.
“From the porch, you could see straight into the room,” Carter said, referring to her son’s room. “I can’t say for sure how or when” the burglary occurred, she said, but had it to be between July 3, when she was served with an eviction notice, and that morning.
Carter, however, said she was never properly served with an eviction notice, also saying there was no name on it. “I was not served completely,” she said. “They never mailed the service.”
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Becker, however, had a record that she was served with a notice of immediate eviction on July 3. “She was served July 3,” Becker said. “Evicted then and there.” Becker also said a lack of her name means nothing — the eviction is for any tenant, and can be for “John or Jane Doe.”
Carter later said she was notified June 29 that she would be evicted due to the owners going in to foreclosure.
Capt. Mike Scott of the Placerville Police Department confirmed there was a report of theft at the residence, but had no further information on the investigation itself.
Meanwhile, Carter is simply trying to pick up the pieces of her life. It’s the second time she’s been burglarized, she said, the first being after her mother died and she was staying in her mother’s house. For her current circumstance, she’s found both the police and the foreclosure Realtor unhelpful.
“They say it’s a civil dispute; they are unwilling to be helpful,” she said. “My son’s upset, especially since he wants to be in law enforcement. They’re cutting corners.” When she tried to talk to the officer monitoring the situation, “He said, ‘This is all baloney.’ He said, ‘You should have moved before. You were lawfully served,’” Carter quoted. “In any other situation, this would be a crime.”
Scott said Carter’s “dilapidated … camping-type trailer was on a neighbor’s property,” and was towed. A neighbor, who wished to remain unnamed for fear of retaliation, said it was towed after it was thought Carter would use the trailer to squat on her neighbor’s land.
Carter paints a different picture.
“Without warning, we were jumped, the tow truck showed up,” she said. “They took the camper. I had just cleaned it. The Realtor did nothing, I had to call my ex. It was humiliating.”
She was able to get the trailer out of impound after negotiating the $270 fee to $100. But the humiliation will stay.
“It was in full view of Highway 49. The chief of police and cops were there. It looked like some kind of drug action. Everyone stopped; it was in full view of everyone. My anemia was kicking in; I didn’t look that well. People were driving down the street, they didn’t know what the heck was going on. About 300 people over an hour probably saw.”
Carter was also displeased with how the Fannie Mae foreclosure Realtor, Karen Tsang, handled the entire process. Carter says she has consistently been late, and was originally supposed to be given about a week to move out. Instead, she is being given three days.
Tsang said, by law, she only needs to give Carter one day. “I gave her two days, more than normal,” Tsang said. “And I’ll give her one more day.”
Both Tsang and the neighbor claimed that Carter had been living in the house without paying rent for the past year or so, which is what caused the owners to go into foreclosure.
The neighbor also doubted the claim that someone had burglarized Carter’s rented home. “The only person who would burglarize it is herself,” the neighbor said. “Nobody has broken into her house but Ms. Carter.” The neighbor also said of Carter, “Her word is worth nothing. She’s told so many lies. PPD has come out here countless times.” She also claimed that Carter had not paid her water bills, causing her water to be shut off since December. Carter’s electricity had also been recently turned off.
Fannie Mae tried to do a “cash for keys” program with Carter, the neighbor said, as a “way to get her out peacefully,” but was unsuccessful. Tsang confirmed that the offer had been presented to Carter.
As for not being served, the neighbor said that other neighbors saw officers posting papers “three or four times, at different times of the day” to Carter’s door, and they would disappear from where they were posted.
“She’s an unreasonable person,” Tsang added. “I do everything by the book.”
It will fall to law enforcement to decide whether the case is civil or criminal, but Carter wants justice either way. “I’m just a citizen, what did I do?” she said. As for the fishing equipment that was found outside, “It didn’t just magic itself out of the garage.”
Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or email@example.com. Follow @CMayerMtDemo.