‘It doesn’t make us feel safe’: Empty home attracts thieves, causes concern for South Hill homeowners

SPOKANE, Wash. — A home on the corner of 57th and Madelia has been empty for months, according to neighbors who live nearby. No one’s been able to contact the owners, and now neighbors are worried about their properties.

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking and doesn’t make us feel as safe,” said Sarah Dalyan. She’s owned a home in the neighborhood for around a year.

She’s usually felt safe letting her kids play outside, but now she’s more hesitant. She says they see people coming and going at all hours of the day and night and are worried whoever’s going inside the house may start looking to target other homes.

“We know from the police that the house has been ransacked, and things have been stolen,” Dalyan said. “In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before they move to the houses surrounding it.”

Patrick Heinz has lived in the neighborhood for around seven years. He’s also concerned the issues inside the house can start to spread.

“Is the house mouse infested? Is it going to start flooding over to my place? Bugs, you know,” he said.

Both Heinz and Dalyan have now invested in security cameras to monitor their homes. They’ve also called the sheriff’s office to investigate. Last week, a Crime Prevention Officer came out and found evidence of mice, flooding and other criminal activity. However, it’s hard for them to move forward quickly because they can’t get ahold of the owner either. They’re taking steps to declare the home a nuisance. Now, they’re encouraging neighbors to keep calling and reporting.

Another concern the neighbors have is their property values decreasing and feeling like the people destroying the home have more rights than they do in this situation.

“It has been a problem house, and it’s an ongoing deal,” Heinz said.  “Now, we’re getting looters coming in and out taking stuff at all times of night.”

“We do call the police on a regular basis, and there’s really no movement on what can be done,” Dalyan said.

Neighbors say they just wish they could locate the owner and get the home locked up.

“We would just really love to find the owner and really love the house to be secured so people can’t get into it,” Dalyan said.