Landlord Tied up Sleeping Tenants & Dumped Them in Cemetery
Albany Landlord Locks Up Tenants During Lockdown!
An Albany landlord got so fed up with lockdown that he attacked his tenants, drove them to a cemetery in Columbia County, and dumped them in the snow at gunpoint!
He is charged with allegedly tying them up with zip ties and tape, then placing pillowcases over their heads. The landlord proceeded to dump his tenants in the snow, according to law enforcement and police records.
From Landlord to Villain
Shawn Douglas, the 48-year-old landlord, got so frustrated because he was not able to evict the tenants due to COVID-19 restrictions that he decided to take matters into his own hands. Douglas, who was armed with a firearm throughout the incident, is accused of attacking and tying up the 32-year-old man and 21-year-old woman while they were sleeping. He also allegedly punched and kicked the older tenant.
After the pair were bound up by Douglas and two other suspects, they were loaded into a Dodge Durango and driven to a motel, which police were told may have been in Colonie. They were then taken to a quiet cemetery in Ghent, which is a small town about 35 miles southeast of Albany.
Police reports state that Douglas left the tenants tied up in the snow at the cemetery and then callously drove away. Fortunately, the woman was able to untie herself and summoned help from a nearby residence that she walked to.
By allegedly leaving the victims tied up in freezing conditions, Douglas “exposed the victims to a risk of serious physical injury,” say local law enforcement sources.
Douglas was arrested in February and arraigned on charges of second-degree kidnapping. He was held at Albany County jail on a $50,000 bond.
Fortunately, There Are Better Alternatives to Kidnapping
Obviously, Douglas could have taken the route of nicely asking the tenants to leave the property before kidnapping them. It is not recommended to enter the house for legal reasons. And be careful if your property is in a bad neighborhood!
If you can engage in a pleasant dialogue with the tenants, then this strategy could work. Don’t forget — you catch more bees with honey!
Another option Douglas could have used to get better results when trying to evict his tenants is “cash for keys.” You can approach the tenants yourself or with an associate and offer to cover the cost of a moving truck plus a few hundred dollars on top of that. They must agree to leave the property in “broom-swept” condition and then hand you the keys as they leave.
Some tenants may jump at this approach, especially during COVID-19 times. With this approach, use your own judgment and negotiating skills. The end game is to make the occupants move out quickly and without malice.
A third option for Douglas was getting law enforcement legally involved in his life by filing a writ of possession with the court. If the court awards you this, it will be served on the tenants by the local sheriff’s office. The tenant then has 24 hours to move out, and failure to do so will mean eviction by the sheriff.
You may need a locksmith to replace locks if they are broken by the sheriff to gain entry. Don’t forget to change the locks as soon as you take back possession of the property!
After this point, you or someone working for you will remove all their belongings and place them on the curb. Florida law states that you are free to do whatever you want with anything under $500, but with anything over $500 you have certain responsibilities and storage requirements that vary based on location and situations.
Shawn Douglas could have saved himself a lot of heartache, a criminal record, and unnecessary legal expenses by choosing some of these safer tactics to evict his tenants!