(CBS Local) — A burglar in Washington state has been charged with not only breaking into a vacationing family’s home, but also renting it out to unsuspecting tenants.
“To hear something like that really made me mad,” the homeowner’s son Matt Dunn told KIRO. “Just using somebody’s house is dirt-baggish to begin with. Going the extra mile and trying to gain from it? It’s really crazy.”
According to local police, 35-year-old Matthew Robert Paul found out that Dunn’s parents had left their Tulalip Bay home on an extended vacation to Mexico. After breaking into the home in April of 2017, Paul went to work on making the house appear to be his actual property. The burglar allegedly hung pictures of himself on the walls and checked the references of prospective renters who responded to his ads about the place.
Police in Snohomish County say Paul collected $5,825 from the people he scammed into renting the home as well as thousands more in items the 35-year-old allegedly stole from the property. The burglar even went to the trouble of convincing Dunn’s neighbors that he was house-sitting for the family before getting caught.
“He seemed like a normal kind of guy. He befriended us and told us he was a friend,” neighbor Evelyn Werner said. “I guess it hurts my heart that people will go to such extremes to take advantage of innocent, trusting people.”
Paul’s elaborate plan reportedly fell apart after he asked someone to cash the rent checks for him in exchange for drugs. He is due in court on April 19.