Squatter, not Santa Claus, Trespasses in Wburg Building

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Williamsburg building owner found an unwelcome guest this month that wasn’t jolly old St. Nicholas.

A squatter, identified as Camillo Torres, repeatedly broke into a three-story building at 496 Grand Street in Williamsburg and threatened building owner Gus Mueses, alleged police.

The story began a month ago, when a former tenant stopped paying rent and did not give access to the apartment. After the tenant left, about two weeks ago, Mueses noticed a Department of Housing and Preservation Development worker inspecting the building and investigating a leak.

The worker was talking to a man who claimed to live in the building. Mueses confronted him and called the police.

“When the police came, they said you don’t have the right to be here. He handed me the key and left.”

A week later, Mueses hired a subcontractor to fix the leak in the apartment. When they went upstairs, Mueses discovered the same squatter who was there before.

Again, Mueses called the police.

“He broke into windows, was sleeping on sofa and was all drugged out,” said Mueses. “He was screaming, saying he was going to kill me. I don’t know who he is. He was there before. There’s a lot of back and forth for me to take the apartment.”

According to police, Torres was arrested on December 15 for trespassing after fighting with police. He entered the building after allegedly breaking into a window and climbing down the fire escape.

Mueses has since restarted renovations on the building, putting guards on the windows, repairing holes in the walls, and throwing away any refuse.

Torres has since been released from prison on December 18, but just to be safe, Mueses took out a restraining order.

“He knows me, I don’t know him,” said Mueses.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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