Who’s that sleeping in my bed?
Katherine Lang of Beaufort, S.C., returned home Sunday from vacation to find unfamiliar items, animals and people inside her home, according to the Beaufort Gazette.
Two strange women were talking inside the home, clothes that didn’t belong to Lang were swirling in the washing machine and her personal affects had been stored away.
Lang spotted two small dogs running in the house, a cat sitting on a washing machine and food cooking on the stove.
She also noticed that a TV from one of the bedrooms in the house had been moved to the mantle.
“I said ‘What are you doing in my house?'” Lang recalled. “It became clear to me what happened.”
She quickly deduced that the new residents had been scammed while she was gone.
One of the two women began to cry upon realizing Lang truly was the owner of the house.
Tyggra Shepherd told the Beaufort Gazette she and her husband moved to the area from Kentucky in the hopes of having better luck finding good jobs.
The 22-year-old found Lang’s home listed on a Beaufort Facebook group by a woman named Rosie Ruggles, who appeared to be offering homes for rent.
Shepherd and her husband sent their two kids to stay with family while they went to Beaufort in search of homes. Lang’s, which was being advertised for just $850 per month, was a standout favorite.
The fake landlord reportedly offered to rent the house furnished and described items Lang had moved into the home, including several books and kitchen stools.
Shepherd was told the backdoor was open and she could move her things in whenever she was ready.
“I was so crushed when I found out it was a scam,” Shepherd told the publication, “…finding a place to live in Beaufort is hard when you need something you can afford and still raise a family adequately.”
According to the outlet, Lang purchased the home in October. She’d been staying at her previous home while she waited for it to sell, however.
Lang told the Beaufort Gazette she’d been on vacation for 10 days in California before returning to S.C., to check her home in Pigeon Point. She wanted to make sure the pipes hadn’t frozen amid colder-than-normal temperatures.
When she arrived, she noticed her shed door was open and it appeared to be filled with items she didn’t recognize.
The homeowner believes her home was being watched while renovations were completed. During that time a key was being kept beneath a plastic covering for an electrical outlet.
Lang notified police of what happened and the women agreed on a timeline for Shepherd to move out.
She told the Beaufort Gazette police encouraged her to file a report with the FBI as well.
This is one of many cases of rental scam in Beaufort, according to the publication.
Investigator Stephanie Karafa said police are regularly in contact with local property managers.
The department created a three-officer task force that meets with property managers monthly, according to Susan Trogdon, a residential and commercial property manager at Bundy Appraisal and Management.
Police send property managers weekly reports of incidents at their properties and complexes.
Following the incident, Shepherd is warning renters to meet with landlords in person.
Lang has decided to move into her new home sooner, rather than later.