Your home is your sanctuary, right? Your fortress of solitude, impenetrable to unwelcome guests, your island of personal space and safety. Think again. Instances of illegal squatters occupying homes without the resident's knowledge occur more often than you'd think. These accounts are largely horrifying, though a few are also kinda...funny? Like the career criminal's epic stay in a Toys 'R' Us.Whether creepy or knee-slapping (or both; looking at you, Game of Thrones fans), enjoy these outlandish reports of people who secretly lived in someone's house.
Japanese Man Finds Woman Living in His Cupboard
An unnamed Fukuoka, Japan resident began to suspect he was being repeatedly robbed in May 2008 ,when his food began disappearing from his home. He set up security cameras and was shocked to discover that a strange woman living in his cupboard and stealing his food. It was later revealed the woman had been living undetected in the man's apartment for over a year.
Career Crook Hides Out in Toys 'R' Us and Circuit City
This is probably the greatest story you'll hear all day. It has all the makings of a fantastic movie, and its anti-hero, seasoned criminal Jeffrey Manchester, AKA "Roofman," was both hated and revered by the police who captured him.
It began in 2005, when Manchester, serving a 45-year sentence for robbery, became the first inmate to ever escape the Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton, NC His method of escape? Hiding in a laundry truck.
Roofman landed in Charlotte, NC, where he created a new identity: John, an unassuming, church-going man who told his congregation he had a secret government job to avoid talking about work. Manchester struck up a romantic relationship with a local woman, giving gifts to her and her children gifts, even spending holidays with them.
But Manchester's life was anything but normal. In addition to being a criminal on the lam, he was secretly living inside the local Toys 'R' Us, fashioning a lair within a cubbyhole in the bicycle department. There, he subsisted on baby food, and rode bikes around the store to keep himself fit. He also apparently changed employees' schedules, just for the fun of it.
When the Christmas shopping season heated up, Manchester dug his way through the Toys 'R' Us wall and gained access to an abandoned Circuit City, where he improved his digs by building a cubicle from old drywall slabs. He hung up posters and decorated the room with action figures, while watching pilfered DVDs on a pilfered DVD player.
But a crook can't lay dormant for long, and Manchester began plotting his next big score - robbing the Toys 'R' Us he'd called home for last six months. First, Roofman robbed a pawn shop to get a gun, then stole a baby monitor cam from the store so he could better case the joint. Things took a turn for the worse during his robbery, as two employees escaped undetected and called the police.
This led to a chase, during which Manchester attempted to evade capture by ducking back into his cubby. The pursuing officers, however, saw Manchester enter his secret passageway, blowing the lid on his living quarters.
The story doesn't end there, however. Manchester managed to escape the cops. He went on to torch a dentist's office in the middle of the night, because it was revealed he'd had dental work done there a week prior, and hoped to destroy the evidence.The cops were only able to catch Manchester after they convinced his girlfriend to set him up by inviting him over. He complied, aiming to see her one last time before disappearing, and was promptly arrested. Manchester had no hard feelings for the woman - he completely understood her position and encouraged her to pursue her dreams before the police whisked him back to jail.
Man Secrectly Living Underneath Woman's Home
A retired, 73-year-old woman living in Washington state received shocking news in January 2013, when a repairman told her a man had been living in a crawlspace under her house for an indeterminate period of time. While completely taken aback by the news, it did explain the strange disgusting smell she occasionally caught wind of, believed to be marijuana or meth her secret tenant smoked. Mmm, meth.
Reverse Santa Steals from Family, Wears Their Clothes, Hides in Attic Over Christmas
In 2008, on the day after Christmas, a Wilkes-Barre, PA woman discovered a man living in her attic, periodically helping himself to her family's food, clothes, and possessions. She states, "When he came down from the attic, he was wearing my daughter's pants and my sweatshirt and sneakers." The man also helped himself to a computer and an iPod. He kept a list of everything he took, titling it his "Christmas List."Basically, the guy was a reverse Santa; he got the sneaking-into-the-house bit right, but took, rather than gave, to a family at Christmas.