Portland police arrested a man on burglary-related charges after a duplex break-in, and the owner believes the suspect may be tied to squatters from the Occupy Portland movement who are fighting against foreclosure at a house next door.
Vlad Rudnitsky, who owns the duplex in the 500 block of Northeast Bryant Street, went to check on his property Sunday, and found that his fence dismantled and the inside of the house damaged.
Rudnitsky called officers, who responded and found 24-year-old Derek Zika inside the house, crouching down by the front door.
Zika was taken into custody on charges of burglary and trespassing.
"(He) messed up the kitchen, the living room. We're renting the furniture, that got messed up," Rudnitsky said. "I mean, it's horrible. It's unfortunate what they do to hard-working people."
Police said Zika had personal belongings in an upstairs bedroom and it appeared he had just taken a shower in the upstairs bathroom. He also had a grocery bag containing two new sets of door locks that didn't belong to the homeowner, officers said.
The house immediately west of the duplex is associated with squatters from the Occupy Portland movement, according to police. On the front porch of the duplex, a banner had been erected that said, "Together we are unevictable."
Though officers said the squatters are at the home next door illegally, there is nothing police can do because the owner hasn't complained. Owners of vacant properties are responsible for securing them and for maintaining them until they are sold or rented.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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