Florida Sheriff Touts Giving Squatters a ‘One-Way Ride’ to Jail

Sheriff Grady Judd
by Harold Hutchison


A Florida sheriff on Monday boasted during a Fox News appearance about giving squatters a “one-way ride” to the local jail as concerns about squatting have grown nationwide.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed legislation to criminalize squatting on Wednesday after a high-profile incident in New York in which a woman who discovered squatters in her late mother’s luxury apartment was allegedly killed by them. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told “Fox and Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones that his deputies were already addressing the issue.

“We have people that want to move in to vacate houses. Sometimes they try to do that with a dummied up contract and what they are doing is trespassing, they have broken into somebody’s house,” Judd told Jones. “Well, there is many jurisdictions across the state and across the nation says oh, it’s civil. So now all of a sudden, these free-loaders are in your house for months while it works its way through the civil process.”


“The state of Florida made that abundantly clear through our Governor DeSantis, which we think is the greatest guy ever, and our Legislature, they said no, we are going to make that a criminal event,” Judd continued. “Well, in Polk County, it was already a criminal event. We never had that problem because we go to the house, we determine well, the real owner doesn’t know who these people are entered into no contract. We load them up and give them a one-way ride to the county jail. It’s just that simple. You don’t have to bog it down in court. Just do what’s right.”

Squatting became a national issue after a TikTok influencer described how to take over a vacant house, and when New York police officers handcuffed a woman when she tried to change the locks on a $1 million property occupied by squatters in March.

“You don’t have to make it a civil deal when somebody breaks into your home when you are in it at the time. It may be up for sale, you may have gone on a cruise around the world, for whatever reason your property is empty,” Judd said. “People don’t have the right to move in, turn the electricity on, change the locks and claim it as theirs. It’s not difficult. It’s burglary. It’s theft of your property. It’s trespassing. Just use your current laws and go arrest them and lock them up.”

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Harold Hutchison is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Sheriff Grady Judd” by Polk County Sheriff’s Office.



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