NYCHA residents say squatters took over apartment
NEW YORK - UPDATE: On Tuesday night, residents told FOX 5 NY that police ordered the squatters to leave or they'd be arrested. Authorities were waiting for representatives from NYCHA to seal the apartment. The agency said it is sending a crew to fix the broken front door first thing Wednesday morning.
ORIGINAL REPORT: The front door at NYCHA's East River Houses in East Harlem is unlocked and has been for years. But now it's much worse.
"It's been a nightmare because everybody has access to the building," said Felix Bermudez, who lives with his family in a $1,500-a-month apartment. He told FOX 5 NY that back in December his family noticed the furniture of their hospitalized elderly next-door neighbor being thrown out and strangers leaving drug paraphernalia moving in.
"It's like a prostitution house in there, all kinds of stuff goes on in there," said Bermudez.
"A few months ago, some squatters moved in there, they roam the lobby at night time, they're having sex very loud," his wife, Bibi, told us. "I think it's a prostitution ring."
Bibi said the squatters harass them and even follow their children.
"I went to throw away garbage, somebody opens the door, a blonde one, and she was like, 'Hello, hello, you want to come in?'" she said.
One resident who chose not to be identified explained, "They've been messing with our doorknobs while we're sleeping. I have an autistic son, he's 12 years old, and he has nightmares."
We knocked on the door and no one answered. We also spoke with many neighbors who had similar stories and told us repeated calls to NYCHA resulted in no action. We went with them to the management office where workers shut them out.