Police Dispatch

Locked Out, But Not Locked Up

It sucks to be evicted.

San Xavier Beat, Jan. 22, 11:40 a.m.

A day-drinking southwest-side man learned an expensive lesson but at least avoided jail after breaking into his own apartment—that is, his former apartment, according to a Pima County Sheriff's Department report.

Late one morning, sheriff's deputies were called to the scene by the manager of the man's apartment complex, who told them other tenants had complained that he'd been "going crazy" and had finally broken down the door to the apartment from which he'd just been evicted—lawfully, it appeared, if rather sneakily.

Upon arrival at the man's unit, deputies saw the front door hanging open, with broken "door locks" nearby on the ground and recent damage evident on the door jamb and the door's interior. They heard a male voice inside yelling, "They locked me out!" and similar vehement vociferations.

When they announced their arrival, he came to speak with them, earnestly explaining that he'd just left his place for an hour, that very morning, returning to find that suddenly its locks had been changed.

He said yes, he had broken down the apartment's door, since all his belongings were still inside. And yes, he'd known there'd been proceedings to evict him for nonpayment of rent. But he said he'd recently gone to court to fight the eviction and had made a full month's payment four days ago.

He then showed deputies some paperwork that had been taped to the apartment's window—which, unfortunately for him, turned out to be an eviction notice. Deputies explained that he'd made his rent payment too late to satisfy the property owner, since the notice banned him from the premises upon penalty of trespassing. It noted that he could get his possessions from inside only by making arrangements with the landlord to enter (with a key). After admitting he hadn't read the notice fully (before breaking down the door), the man exclaimed he hadn't been notified of the eviction before today, and it was wrong of his landlord to change the locks without notice. But according to the landlord, who spoke to deputies by phone, the man had been sent a notice five days ago by certified mail, which he must've somehow missed or forgotten.

This apparently seemed not unlikely to the deputies, considering the subject seemed to be a man who imbibed excess alcohol quite often—they learned that he was evicted not only for not paying rent but also for drunkenly disturbing other tenants.

He admitted to the officers that he was currently wasted.

Perhaps feeling bad for the guy—who was acting super cooperative—they didn't bring him to jail for public drunkenness, trespassing or any other crime. They merely had him sign a citation to appear in court, where he'd probably be made subject to fines, in addition for being held financially responsible for damaging the apartment door.

The deputies then released the man, who wisely chose to depart on foot, since he wasn't sober enough to drive his car out of the parking lot. Hopefully he'd at least retrieved his most-needed possessions from his ex-abode.

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