BRANDON - Deputies found groceries on the counter, a bed on the floor and a car parked in the garage. None of which would be out of the ordinary, except the belongings did not belong to the Joyce Grimsley who actually owns the home.
Grimsley locked up and moved out two years ago. Foreclosure looms, but county records list her as the current owner. Yet another woman moved in last November and has been living in the house ever since.
We found a Norma Eaton had filed an adverse possession application with the Property Appraiser's office. Eaton would not come outside to talk, but she explained over the phone that she moved in after an online search of foreclosed properties led her to this house.
Squatters are nothing new. The glut of foreclosures spawned an increase the number of people laying claim to a home, based on a century-old adverse possession law.
Grimsley tried contacting a lawyer and the sheriff's office, but deputies say warnings did not work on Norma Eaton. She was arrested on trespassing charges.
The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office says standard operating procedure for them is to issue a 30-day notice to vacate the property. Once the 30 days are up, they move in and arrest the reported squatter.