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CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Bay area teens trespassing into old phosphate plant as part of game

Owner says she's overrun with trespassers
Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 17, 2017

Polk County teenagers recording themselves as they sneak into an old phosphate plant. It's called urban exploring and authorities say it's happening a lot more nationwide. The plant's owner says this trespassing has turned into a nightmare for her family.

The homemade video shows a group of young men tearing apart an old phosphate plant.

"We put no trespassing signs...and they just rip them down," said plant owner Debbie Miller.

She's no stranger to trespassers. Despite the locks and signs, she believes teens are sneaking into her property every week. Miller tells ABC Action News it's getting worse.

During spring break, of last year, a group of trespassers caused more than $10,000 in damage.

"They literally stuck this knife in this wall and cut the mattresses," she said.

Both the plant and the mobile home on her land were turned upside down.

"It’s frustrating and disheartening to come out here and see what people do to your property," said Miller.

"I don't care about your sob story, I don't care why you are in here. I don't care if you are in here exploring. You are going to jail," she said of the suspects.

The family's concern isn't just over the illegal activity but also the dangers these trespassers could face on the property. From rust to obstacles all over the ground to the dangerous heights of the property.

"It would kill them if they hit that cement," she said, "Or maim them for life. Now does that become my responsibility because I’m the land owner?"

The family hoping they'll get caught and others will learn to stay behind the gate.

Meanwhile, Polk County Sheriff's Office says the are keeping the property on their radar. They expect to identify the teens quickly. A spokesperson tells us, it could mean a burglary and criminal mischief charge.

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