TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A man is accused of breaking into a vacant home in Nassau County and renting it out, collecting thousands of dollars in the process.
Police said 32-year-old Vernon Glass broke into the house on Rosedale Road in North Woodmere in April. He allegedly changed the locks, turned on the electricity, moved in himself and then rented a portion of the property to three other people, claiming to be the landlord.
Glass fraudulently collected $9,600 in rent from April 1 to June 21, authorities said.
Police said the scam unraveled when a friend of the real homeowner, who was watching the house for him, noticed unfamiliar cars in the driveway and that the keys to the house no longer worked.
When the homeowner found out, he went to the house and knocked on the door. Glass answered and allegedly claimed he was the homeowner.
Glass was arrested Thursday and charged with grand larceny, criminal mischief, scheme to defraud and burglary.
Police said he was arrested in June for a similar incident.
“He allegedly was posing as a landlord for another location that he did not own,” Nassau County Police Det. Vincent Garcia said.
At Glass’s arraignment Friday, his attorney said he was unaware of that and denied the latest fake landlord allegations, saying Glass is the victim – that he signed a lease to live in the house with his family and that he’s been paying rent, but the person who rented the house to him was a scammer, not the real homeowner.
“They’ve arrested the wrong guy. He’s a victim,” said attorney Jason Russo.
“Anybody we arrest claims innocence,” Garcia said.
Glass was conditionally released to probation without bail and is due back in court in August.
According to the criminal complaint, he also caused $11,000 worth of damage inside the home.