A Colorado family said they did a good deed when they allowed a man to stay at their home temporarily—only to be kicked out of their own residence after he reportedly filed a protection order against them and “squatted” on the property.
“I just want to go home. I want to go home. I want my kids to be able to go home,” Sheryl Lopez-Tobin told KDVR. “The police said you’re being served. You need to leave the property, and I went, what?”
According to the news station, Lopez-Tobin, of Thornton, hired a mechanic who was “down on his luck” in August. The man allegedly said he was homeless with nowhere to go, and the woman and her daughter reportedly allowed him to stay in an RV parked in their backyard for a few days.
On the first night, the mechanic, identified as Brian Durst, attempted to break into their home through a doggy door at the home, according to Lopez-Tobin. When Durst was asked to leave, he allegedly brandished a weapon while making threats.
“He told me that people disappear all the time and that he could make us disappear and he wasn’t leaving,” Lopez-Tobin said.
The family contacted authorities, who arrested Durst on an outstanding warrant.
After posting bond, Durst filed a restraining order against the family while producing a lease with his name on it, claiming to be a legal resident of the hime. Lopez-Tobin said the man created a fake lease.
“It was all fraud. He made up a fake lease,” Lopez-Tobin said.
While officials reportedly told the mother that her daughter signed the lease, the woman denied it, saying she believed the signature was forged by Durst—who has been previously charged with forgery and theft.
According to court documents obtained by KDVR, Durst stated in court that Sheryl “punched me in the face and said my lease was terminated effective immediately.”
Further, he alleged that “Sheryl continually tells me that her brother is coming to town to deal with me.”
The court subsequently granted a temporary protective order, forcing the family to stay 100 yards away from Durst and 50 yards from the residence. Since the man’s listed address is the home of Lopez-Tobin, the family was apparently forced out of their own home.
“There was a knock at the door. My grandkids were sleeping. One is in a crib and the other ones is in a bed in her room and the police only gave us 15 minutes to leave,” Lopez-Tobin said.
The now-displaced family said friends watching over their home told them Durst has been inside.
“He’s a felon. He’s going to rob us blind. I’m just scared to death. I don’t know,” Lopez-Tobin said.
A legal expert speaking with KDVR, Phil Harding, said if someone testifies that they’re in imminent danger, then “the court almost always will grant this temporary order.”
“Once that’s entered within 14 days, there has to be a hearing for a permanent order,” Harding said. “That’s when both parties will present evidence to the court.”
Meanwhile, the distraught family said they’ve obtained a protective order of their own against Durst, barring both parties from legally entering the residence.
Until the upcoming court date, the family is left hanging.
“A criminal can get your address, they can take possession of your home and have you evicted — right out from under you,” Lopez-Tobin said.
[Feature Photo: Sheryl Lopez Tobin/KDVR screengrab]