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Neighbors Angered Over Squatters Who've Taken Refuge Inside Selden, N.Y. Home

SELDEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Residents in one Suffolk County community want squatters gone.

Neighbors say the town of Selden or the police should take action, but their hands may be tied, CBS2's Emily Smith reported Monday.

On Hawkins Road you have a well-maintained home next door to a home abandoned five years ago. With garbage piled up along the side and two vehicles in the driveway, neighbors said squatters have recently taken over and are living rent and tax free.

"They do have cable TV, they do have electric and they do water and when we called the companies to find out how they could somebody in the house … they said all they have to do is give a Social Security card," neighbor Joyce Schmidt said.

Smith knocked on the door and no one answered. She did see a sign that said the property had been abandoned. Broken glass was also visible. Neighbors insisted four adults and seven children live in the home and no one is doing anything about it.

"I can get very limited information. I just believe that the town should be able to get information on these people," Schmidt said.

Smith called the town of Brookhaven and officials told her the home technically still belongs to Riadel Ramos. It's on the vacant house registry and had been boarded up in May. Attorney Ken Mollins said it looks like the foreclosure process is underway with Wells Fargo planning to take ownership and eventually sell the home.

CBS2 tried calling Wells Fargo and its foreclosure attorneys several times but didn't get a return call.

"Right now, the only person with authority to evict these people is the owner of the premises, and he doesn't care," Mollins said.

Mollins said town officials can take affirmative action if they find something unsafe happening in the home. Otherwise, it's a squatter's paradise.

One neighbor who didn't want to show her face on camera said she fears the current residents could be harmful and therefore don't belong on Hawkins Road.

"They're there illegally. They shouldn't be there. They are not paying rent; they are not paying a mortgage. We work hard to keep our homes nice. We work hard to pay our bills and these people just come in and go into a house without anything," she said.

Smith saw someone move the curtain to look outside but still no one answered the door. Mollins said it could be a case of professional squatters and once they are evicted by the bank they'll likely find another abandoned home and take up residence there.

Neighbors have called the police but were told unless there is physical harm or surveillance video of something illegal they can't respond.

Town of Brookhaven officials told CBS2 they would have to work in conjunction with the police and need a reason to approach the current residents.

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