'A lot' of evidence to review in Queens squatter case

Dan Krauth Image
Monday, May 13, 2024
Squatter standoff captured on camera in Queens
Dan Krauth has the latest on the squatter standoff in Queens.

QUEENS (WABC) -- Accused squatter Brian Rodriguez appeared before a judge in Queens County Criminal Court Monday morning.

The Queens district attorney and the attorney for Rodriguez both told a judge they needed about six weeks to review all of the discovery evidence in the case -- including video and paperwork. The judge granted the request and scheduled another courting hearing for July 1.

(Note: The video above is from a previous report.)

A judge reminded Rodriguez to abide by the conditions of his release which includes not going anywhere near Adele Andaloro or the home in question. He has an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet as a condition of his release.

"Criminal charges will be pursued when you unlawfully occupy someone else's home," said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz shortly after charging Rodriguez last month.

A 7 On Your Side Investigation that aired in March caused the Queens District Attorney to launch its own investigation which led to the charges.

Adele Andaloro says Rodriguez and others moved into her Flushing, Queens, home in the middle of the night on Feb. 6 and refused to leave. She was in the process of selling the property she had inherited from her mother.

She noticed the problem when she showed up to the house to see the front door and locks had been changed.

"I'm really fearful that these people are going to get away with stealing my home," Andaloro told Eyewitness News when the investigation first aired.

Andaloro gained access to her home and changed the locks. Minutes later, Rodriguez pushed through the door and called the cops on her while cameras were rolling.

ALSO READ | Squatter standoff captured on camera in Queens: 7 On Your Side Investigates

Dan Krauth has more in this 7 On Your Side Investigates squatting story.

In New York, it's against the law for homeowners to change the locks, remove their belongings, or shut off the utilities on someone who claims to have the right to be there. It's handled as a civil court matter in the state, so police can't remove squatters.

After a standoff between Rodriguez and Andaloro, police arrived and arrested the homeowner for changing the locks, even though Rodriguez provided no lease or proof that he was legally allowed to be there.

"It's not fair that I, the homeowner, has to be going through this," Andaloro said.

Rodriguez told Eyewitness News he had a lease with a real estate agent he wouldn't name and he refused to provide a copy. Instead, he showed receipts for work he claimed he had done to the home.

"How it ends is, she pays me my money that I put in the house," said Rodriguez. "Pay me the money and I'll leave or send me to court. It's that simple."

When Eyewitness News arrived, multiple people were in the house. One of those men said he was renting a room from Rodriguez.

The unlawful eviction charge against Andaloro was eventually dropped and the Queens DA began investigating Rodriguez.

"You can't walk in when it's not yours and claim they have a right to be there," Katz said. "I thank the media for all the attention that they have given to this story and for being here today because I do think it's an important message to send."

Rodriguez faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Lawmakers voted to change state property law last month to define the word tenant so it does not include squatters. They hope it will make it easier for police to remove squatters as trespassers instead of having to take them to court.

ALSO READ | New York Governor signs new squatter law after 7 On Your Side Investigation

Dan Krauth breaks down the new law and its impact.



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