Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man accused of squatting at New Port Richey home

NEW PORT RICHEY — For at least a few days, authorities said, the squatter enjoyed living at the nearly 1,400-square-foot, two-bath home on Illinois Avenue. Central air-conditioning. Carpet. Television. The owners are snowbirds who let family members use it for vacations. The last one to stay there left weeks ago.

Police say Anthony Venard Russaw, a 26-year-old transient with a history of arrests for aggravated assault with a weapon, battery and DUI, forced his way into the house through the back door. He ate the homeowners' food and, when finished, threw away the dishes instead of washing them, a report states.

On Monday, a neighbor noticed a television on in the house and called the New Port Richey Police Department. Officers went inside, thinking it might be a burglary in progress, and found signs someone was living there. They called the homeowners to verify that no one had permission to be inside. Then they set up a stakeout to wait for the squatter to come back, said Capt. Jeffrey Harrington.

A report says Russaw returned later that night and went inside, sat down and turned on the TV. When officers knocked on the door, Russaw "answered the door as if he resided there," the report states. Harrington said Russaw told officers he owned the house and lived there — then changed the story to say the house belonged to a relative, who allowed him to stay there.

Eventually, he said he broke inside looking for a "place to sleep," the report states.

Harrington said Russaw might be a serial squatter and that detectives are reviewing other similar burglary cases. He also said Russaw might have had a companion.

"It's still under investigation," Harrington said.

Russell Raymond, 62, owns the home and said police told him Russaw and a woman did no damage inside the house. They did their laundry, they showered and threw their wet towels in the hamper.

"I guess they figured on staying there for a while," he said.

The only thing that bothered Raymond was that the two smoked inside the house.

He's grateful to his neighbors and to the officers who responded so quickly.

"What more could you ask for?" he said.

Russaw was charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. He was being held Wednesday at the Pasco County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Man accused of squatting at New Port Richey home 06/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This 'SNL' writer is cracking up Twitter with his replies to President Donald Trump's tweets


    Josh Patten is a writer for Saturday Night Live. Earlier this month, he began responding to President Donald Trump's tweets as if they were private texts to Patten.

  2. Snooty the manatee's death prompts outpouring of support, petition to move Confederate monument


    BRADENTON — The South Florida Museum aquarium remains closed Monday and tributes continue to pour in following the shocking death of Snooty, the beloved manatee who captured the hearts of …

    Four-year-old Katie Blair pays her respects to Snooty at a makeshift memorial in front of the museum on Sunday. Katie and her family has visited the aquarium to see Snooty four times this year. 
Snooty was the world's oldest living manatee in captivity and celebrated his 69th birthday Friday at the aquarium. Aquarium officials described Snooty's death as a tragic accident and is being investigated. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

  3. What to watch this week: 'Midnight, Texas,' Shark Week specials


    It's that time of year again. No, not back-to-school month or geek convention season - it's Shark Week.

    Midnight, Texas, a new supernatural series on NBC, premieres at 10 p.m. Monday.
  4. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner: 'I did not collude with Russia' (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, spent about two hours Monday answering questions from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials, insisting he had not colluded with foreign agents before or after the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks to reporters outside the White House on Monday after meeting on Capitol Hill behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee on the investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. [Pablo Martinez Monsivais | Associated Press]
  5. Polk County officials urge owner to remove pet buried at public park

    Human Interest

    Lake Wales city officials are looking for the owner who buried their dead dog in a public park.

    Lake Wales city officials are looking for the owner who buried their dead dog in a public park. [Facebook]