The U.S. Is Now a Banana Republic: The Breakdown of Property Law Edition

I’m so stunned by this, I can’t even find the appropriate snark (boldface mine):

An Ohio bank is refusing to reimburse a Vinton County woman whose house they unjustly repossessed while she was out of town.

Katie Barnett recently returned home after being away for two weeks to find that the lock on her door had been changed. She crawled in through the window to find all of her stuff missing.

Barnett suspected she had been robbed — and she wasn’t too far off.

It seems that, while Barnett was gone, the First National Bank of Wellston arrived at her place of residence, broke in, and took possession of all her belongings, including the house.

Except, as it later turned out, they had the wrong address.

“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett told 10TV. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”

Phoning the local police to report the incident did Barnett little good, as the McArthur Police Chief refused to investigate and considered the case closed.

How is this not theft, breaking and entering, and the like? If I do this, I go to jail–and I should go to jail. Why is local law enforcement not getting involved? And it gets worse:

…the homeowner presented the bank’s president with an $18,000 estimate for restitution.

He refused to pay up.

“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,’” Barnett recalled. “I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.”

The bank’s president claims he is trying to “come to terms” with Barnett, but she denies this.

“I’m getting attitude from them,” she said. “They’re sarcastic when they talk to me. They make it sound like I’m trying to rip the bank off. All I want is my stuff back.”

If the bank is worried that Barnett is overbilling them, I humbly suggest that they not break into people’s houses and steal all their stuff. Might alleviate the problem. Why the bank president is not in jail (along with those who did the housebreaking) and regulatory agencies aren’t all the way up these guys asses (figuratively speaking) escapes me. The bank admitted to the act. How can this possibly be legal and without repercussions?

It was a nice republic while it lasted.

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4 Responses to The U.S. Is Now a Banana Republic: The Breakdown of Property Law Edition

  1. joemac53 says:

    It is legal because no one will show up and protest at the bank president’s house. It is legal because no one will show up to protest at the local police station. Doesn’t anyone recall the TV show “The Equalizer”? Does that guy still exist?

  2. Not to mention the obvious problem with relying on GPS technology when they might have, gee, IDK, READ THE NUMBER ON THE HOUSE!

    Our students will accept anything on a screen, no matter how obviously it contradicts what their common sense ought to tell them.

  3. coloncancercommunity says:

    I’ve been a Realtor®. My father was a real estate lawyer and saw the same things I did. I will tell you that the horror stories about the banks and repossession would make your hair stand on end. Banks have become the wild-wild-west. They are a free-market cowboy’s wet dream. They are accountable to no one and show no remorse for any wrong-doing. The saddest part of this is that it is not unusual and not the least bit surprising to anyone who has worked for any time in this area.

  4. Pingback: Robbing houses for me, but not for thee | ***Dave Does the Blog

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