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Murder in Manhattan Apt Linked to Squatter Craze; Property Take Overs Continue

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By: Jared Evan

In a grim turn of events, a murder mystery unfolds in Manhattan, shedding light on the perils associated with squatter laws and the current surge in squatting trends.

Videos, have popped up online teaching potential property thieves  how to invade private property, when owners  are on on vacation or away from their homes for an extended period of time,  and take it over, due to legal loopholes.

According to police sources, Nadia Vitels, 52, met a tragic fate inside her late mother’s New York City apartment in the Kips Bay neighborhood.

Two suspects on the run were apprehended by the US Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force in York, Pennsylvania, in connection with the homicide of 52-year-old Nadia Vitel, whose body was discovered in a duffel bag in her upscale Manhattan apartment last week, two senior law enforcement officials said Friday.

The individuals, a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old, are now facing charges related to Vitel’s death. Specifics on the charges weren’t immediately clear, nor were details regarding their capture, NBC News NY reported

Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, were tracked down by US Marshals in York, west of Philadelphia, just before 11 a.m. and taken into custody, the sources said.

NY Post reported: Investigators believe the suspects had been squatting in the upscale apartment and beat Vitels to death when they came face to face with her there on March 12, police said.

Reports suggest that Vitels, who had traveled from Spain to prepare the apartment for occupation by a family friend, was unaware of the two individuals unlawfully residing there. Surveillance footage captured her movements as she visited the vacant apartment, unaware of the presence of the squatters.

Tragically, upon her arrival, the suspects returned to the scene, leading to a confrontation resulting in Vitels’ death from blunt force trauma to the head. Her body was discovered concealed in a duffel bag within the apartment’s front closet.

The superintendent of the building, Jean Pompee, expressed shock and dismay, recounting the grim discovery made by concerned family members. The suspects, identified through surveillance footage, were seen fleeing the scene in Vitels’ Lexus, which was later involved in an accident in Pennsylvania.

The incident underscores the urgent need for reevaluation of squatter laws in New York and beyond. Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz has been vocal about the need to address loopholes that afford squatters legal protection after a mere 30 days of occupancy.

NY Post reported on Squatter craze.

Blumencranz’s proposed legislation aims to mitigate the risks associated with squatters’ rights, aiming to prevent situations where individuals exploit the system for personal gain. Squatting, a growing concern across the nation, poses significant threats to homeowners’ rights and public safety.

In a disturbing trend, online forums and dark web platforms offer guidance on trespassing and establishing residency in vacant properties. Squatters strategically target homes based on various criteria, often exploiting properties left unattended for extended periods.

While high-profile cases, such as mansion takeovers, garner attention, instances like Vitels’ tragic death underscore the broader implications of squatting on individuals and communities.

As Vitels’ grieving son mourns the loss of his mother, the call for action to safeguard property rights grows louder. With thousands of homes vulnerable to invasion by squatters, urgent measures are needed to address this pressing issue and protect homeowners’ rights across the country.

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