(SAN FRANCISCO) — A squatter in a vacant multi-million dollar San Francisco mansion has been arrested after allegedly stealing and selling paintings from inside the home, police said.
Officers responded to a neighbor’s call in the ritzy Presidio Heights neighborhood on Saturday night and found 39-year-old Jeremiah Kaylor ransacking the house, which was vacant and reportedly up for sale, police said. He had a piece of art crated and ready to go when police arrived, according to ABC’s San Francisco station KGO-TV.
“He produced some type of documents saying that he was going to be the owner or proprietor to this house,” San Francisco Police Officer Carlos Manfredi said during a news conference.
Officers were not able to in touch with the real estate agent since it was almost midnight, but the documents that Kaylor presented turned out to be fraudulent, according to SFGate. Police returned Sunday and arrested Kaylor.
He had already sold 10 pieces valued at over $300,000, according to KGO-TV.
“It is a little bit more sophisticated than the average squatter,” Manfredi told KGO-TV.
Kaylor sold the artwork to pawn shops and over social media while staying in the mansion, police said. The property is worth $17.9 million, according to KGO-TV.
Neighbor Allan Anderson, who lives two doors down from the mansion, told ABC News on Tuesday that he is not sure how long the squatter had been there, but he and his wife said they got suspicious when they noticed the lights on in the house Friday. The house has been empty for about six or seven years, he added, so neighbors noticed the activity in the house.
“The audacity is hard to imagine. Obviously this guy’s very clever,” Anderson said. “You kind of wonder how this could possibly happen.”
Anderson added that another tip-off was a U-Haul van that was parked in front of the house. Anderson said he did not know who the former occupant of the mansion was.
The multi-million dollar mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated San Francisco Landmark 95.
Detectives tracked down nine of the stolen art pieces but are still looking for two more, according to KGO-TV.
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