WJTV News Channel 12 - Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

Posted: Updated:
Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night. Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) -

Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 

A mini-van and a car sat in the driveway most of Wednesday evening, packed with belongings.

8 On Your Side caught one squatter, Julio Ortiz, and his girlfriend, in the deployed soldier's home. Spc. Michael Sharkey thought his home was in good hands when he left to fight for our country in Afghanistan.

"I want the people out. They're criminals living in my house," said Sharkey, who is now stationed in Hawaii.

Ortiz claims he has a verbal agreement with a friend of a soldier to fix up the home in exchange for living there rent free.

"The people that are in this house cannot produce any documentation, lease, agreement, anything that they belong in that house," Sharkey said.

The Sheriff's Office won't intervene, saying this is a civil matter, but the veterans advocacy group says that's not enough.

Lauren Price, of Veterans Warriors, says Ortiz picked the wrong house to squat at. Price has heard from veterans around the world who want to help.

"I don't think he's a squatter. I think he's a criminal and what he did is breaking and entering," Price said.

Price and another veterans group found an attorney to handle the eviction process for free. They plan on keeping a close watch on the property to make sure the home is not vandalized. 

News Channel 8 uncovered the criminal background of Ortiz; learning he spent a combined 12 years in prison in New Jersey for robbery, car jacking, and selling drugs on school property.

If Ortiz and his girlfriend don't move, supporters of Sharkey in Tampa Bay are coming together, planning a motorcycle ride called "Sharkey's Ride" on Sunday to head to the home and peacefully make the squatters uncomfortable.

Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to soldier Michael Sharkey. Hundreds of people have posted comments on our Facebook page. We've also received phone calls, emails and Facebook posts from people offering to help Sharkey.

"I would like to help this family with this situation at no charge. We are owners of Link Processors and also do document preparing. If Mr. Sharkey would like our help please contact me," wrote Brenda Lee Link on the News Channel 8 Facebook page.

"This is atrocious. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I am an Army Mom who knows all about deployments. Thank you for your service. Come FL residents, we need to help get this soldiers home back," wrote Terry Forester.

Other News Channel 8 Facebook followers offered ideas about solving the soldier's squatter situation.

"I say we get about 25 people together one Sunday afternoon and let's go talk to the squatters and see if we can convince them to leave. I'm not joking," wrote David Edwards.

"Post a picture of the couple that is doing this and let their names and faces be known and maybe shame will change their minds. We should be honoring this soldier and his family for the sacrifices they have made for this country. Let their faces go viral," said Christina Harris.

"I think you should start a petition against the Pasco County Sheriff Department or write a letter to the Governor of Florida .. if that doesn't work write the a letter to the President telling him what you have done up to this letter to him and that you served your county and you deserve your rights to your home," wrote Rebecca Eades Tankersley.

News Channel 8 will continue to bring you the latest developments with this story that is so important to you.

Related: New Port Richey Soldier says squatters won't leave his home

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

  • Don't Miss ItMore>>

  • Los Angeles port welcomes massive rubber duck

    Los Angeles port welcomes massive rubber duck

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:26:58 GMT
     A giant yellow vinyl duck joins sailing ships and motorboats during the Tall Ships Festival L.A. parade in the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. AP photo Jeff Gritchen/Orange County Register A giant yellow vinyl duck joins sailing ships and motorboats during the Tall Ships Festival L.A. parade in the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. AP photo Jeff Gritchen/Orange County Register
    The Port of Los Angeles is welcoming an unusual visitor - the world's biggest bath toy. A 60-foot-tall rubber duck sailed into port Wednesday to kick off the Tall Ships Festival
    The Port of Los Angeles is welcoming an unusual visitor - the world's biggest bath toy. A 60-foot-tall rubber duck sailed into port Wednesday to kick off the Tall Ships Festival
  • Rappin' Xmas Jammies' family back with new video 'Baby Got Class'

    Rappin' Xmas Jammies' family back with new video 'Baby Got Class'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:31:01 GMT
    Image courtesy: www.youtube.com/TheHoldernessFamilyImage courtesy: www.youtube.com/TheHoldernessFamily
    A jammin' North Carolina family who made a Christmas video that went viral last year is at it again. The Holderness family's clever XMAS JAMMIES song featured the pajama-clad family rapping a video version of a yearly Christmas letter.
    A jammin' North Carolina family who made a Christmas video that went viral last year is at it again. The Holderness family's clever XMAS JAMMIES song featured the pajama-clad family rapping a video version of a yearly Christmas letter.
  • Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats

    Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:47 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:47:33 GMT
    In this Aug. 2, 2014 photo, Maria Torero, plays with a group of 175 cats with leukemia in her home in Lima, Peru. Torero says caring for cats with feline leukemia is her responsibility. Anybody else can care for healthy animals. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)In this Aug. 2, 2014 photo, Maria Torero, plays with a group of 175 cats with leukemia in her home in Lima, Peru. Torero says caring for cats with feline leukemia is her responsibility. Anybody else can care for healthy animals. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
    At her job, Maria Torero cares for sick human beings. At home, she lavishes love on slowly dying cats - 175 of them at last count.
    At her job, Maria Torero cares for sick human beings. At home, she lavishes love on slowly dying cats - 175 of them at last count.
  • Most Viewed Stories on WFLA.com

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.