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Canyon Country home ‘red-tagged,’ boarded up

Multiple arrests made at location where squatters stayed

Posted: May 27, 2014 6:48 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2014 6:48 p.m.

A letter warning sheriff's deputies may arrest anyone trespassing in a Canyon Country home was posted on the door after the house was boarded up by city, county and law-enforcement officials. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze


A rat-infested Canyon Country “house of concern” where six people were arrested for various crimes over the past 18 months has been boarded up by order of city, county and law enforcement officials.

The home in the 27500 block of Bernina Avenue — found to be littered with rotting food, excrement and urine — was “red-tagged” as unfit for occupation Friday and boarded up by city and county officials responding for a variety of reasons, representatives of both jurisdictions said Tuesday.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station investigators labeled the home “a house of concern” after more than a dozen criminal charges were filed against its inhabitants since November 2012.

Offenses filed against more than half a dozen of the home’s occupants include: elder abuse, drug possession, stealing electricity, possessing weapons, witness tampering, possessing burglary tools and violating conditions of parole.

“We’ve made a number of arrests there,” Deputy Josh Dubin said Tuesday. “For us, this is a house of concern.”

Three people were arrested two months ago when a probation search found a woman who was a dependent of one resident living in her own feces and rotting food, Dubin said.

The day before the house was boarded up, deputies were called repeatedly to the location for a variety of reasons, Dubin said.

County health inspectors found the house infested with mice and rats, according to the public health inspection report.

Extensive “corrective action” recommended by inspectors includes: “Remove rodent harborage. Observed hoarding conditions inside bedroom and garage. Properly rodent-proof the exterior walls and doors to eliminate gaps greater than 1/4 inch.”

Inspectors also reported finding “cast off” debris and waste throughout the home, including “putrescible matter” — spoiling food.

Deputies responded to the Bernina Avenue house three times on Thursday, starting shortly after 9 a.m. with complaints from neighbors on Vicci Street about a woman seen being dragged by the hair.

By noon, other deputies were dispatched in response to reports of drugs found at the house, said Lt. Mark Hershey.

And by Thursday afternoon, he said, additional deputies were called in to assist deputies initially sent there.

Since the home’s owner died in 2008, ownership of the building has remained “in flux,” city spokeswoman Gail Morgan said Tuesday.

“The reason the city was called in is because there are between seven and 10 people living there illegally.”

No taxes have been paid on the property since 2008, she said. “The home was open to access so we barricaded it to prevent people entering it.”

Occupants of the home included:

- a 50-year-old woman described by deputies as an unemployed taxi driver, arrested three times since July 2013 on suspicion of elder abuse, drug possession. receiving stolen property, possession of a dangerous weapon, possession of methamphetamine, possession of narcotics paraphernalia and unlawful use of a police scanner.

- a 34-year-old unemployed woman charged twice since April on suspicion of stealing electricity by allegedly tampering with a utility meter; also arrested on drug possession.

- a 29-year-old unemployed waitress arrested twice on suspicion of drug possession.

- a 34-year-old laborer arrested on suspicion of violating conditions of parole in November 2012.

- a 26-year-old machinist arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs.

- a 49-year-old security guard arrested on suspicion of trying to prevent or dissuade a witness/victim from testifying.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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