Did squatters lead to Hempstead home invasion?

January 9, 2012 2:42:03 PM PST
Neighbors say every day they're confronted with aggressive squatters who refuse to leave this Grove Avenue home and make it impossible for them to feel safe.

Tammy Mitchell lives across the street and says violence, drugs and prostitution have been a problem here for years.

"Everybody on the block knows about it. We have complained time and time again. The village has let us down. This should not have happened," she said.

So it came as no surprise to these Hempstead residents that three men busted through the front door of this Sunday night.

One was holding a handgun, followed by two more carrying knives, looking for money and drugs and stopping at nothing to get it.

"We believe that the house was targeted. They were looking for a specific individual that person wasn't home. When that person wasn't there they sought to locate money and drugs," Det. Lt. Raymond Cote said.

Not only did they rob the home, two of them men sexually assaulted a 44 year old woman in the bathroom. They later ordered several people to lie on the floor.

One woman had her hands tied behind her back. Another suffered a seizure and a third managed to escape by jumping out of a window.

Berta Baez told me in Spanish there's nothing neighbors can do about it, but Dennis Cybert hopes residents don't give up.

"I think that it's a tragedy and I hope for the best for the family, but I don't want people to be scared off from Hempstead because Hempstead is improving," he said.

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