About a month ago I was checking out one of my house flips when I noticed something strange in the backyard. Someone had dropped off an extremely old and ugly camper in the backyard behind a garage. The house was being painted at the time and I thought maybe it was the painter’s camper at first. After some research, we realized that the camper was not theirs and someone had dropped it off. I did not know if anyone was living in it, if it was abandoned, or if it was a mobile meth lab. We called the city and then the police to see how to get rid of it and ended up without many answers. I posted the videos on Youtube and people seem to think this is one of the most interesting videos ever.
Why would someone leave a camper in my yard?
I know why someone chose my yard to leave a camper in. The house had a we buy houses sign in the front and was obviously vacant and being worked on. The people who left the camper knew they had a better chance of the camper not being noticed at a vacant house. The garage is also in the backyard and there is more space behind the garage. There was room to park a camper behind the garage where it was hard to see. The only reason I saw the camper was the house is next to an alley and I usually park in that alley and drive through the alley when I leave.
Why they actually left the camper I have no idea, because they still wanted it which I will talk about later. I am assuming they had no room for it and needed somewhere to store it that was free until they found some room.
What did the police and city say when we called them about removing a private camper?
Nikki my project manager was given the task of removing this camper (I like to give her any tasks that seem like they could be annoying). She called the city and asked them how to get this camper off our property. They told her to call the police, which she did. The police told her they would not do anything since it is on private property. They advised us to place notices on the camper that it would be towed if it was not moved. If the camper was not moved in 24 hours we could tow it.
We got the fancy notices from the city and placed them on the camper.
The notices were not touched and the camper was not moved after 24 hours, so we started calling towing companies. I knew this may be a problem because towing companies hate towing cars from private property. I have had two cars towed from my parking lot on the building I bought this year. People love to park in my lot who live in the apartment next door. We don’t have a ton of extra parking so I like to leave notices on all those cars if they are parked in our lot for too long. Other people in my office tend to think I am a grouchy old man due to my parking lot antics. We had a couple of cars that stayed in our lot for weeks without moving. We tried to have those cars towed and most towing companies would not do it. The one company we found who would tow a private abandoned vehicle took two weeks to tow it! Towing companies do not want to deal with the drama, the title issues, the private property issues of abandoned vehicles.
None of the towing companies we called would tow the camper. I guess they did not want a crappy camper sitting in their tow lot for five years.
You can see a video of the camper below after we first discovered it. The video has over 100,000 views now!
What did we do when the camper could not be towed away?
I had no idea what was going on with the camper. I could barely see in the windows, but I could see enough to know there was stuff in the camper. The next time we went to the house someone had ripped offer the notice to move it and the door was locked now. The first time I saw the camper it had a padlock on the door, but it wasn’t locked. I did not know if someone was living there at night, if they were cooking meth, or if it was just a free parking spot.
We called the police again and told them our problem with the towing companies. They said they had no problem getting camper towed from public streets, but they are the police. They mentioned that if we caught someone in the backyard at the camper it would be trespassing and they could arrest them. However, that seemed like a long shot and a time-consuming task. The police said we are not supposed to tow it ourselves, that a towing company has to do it. I got called all types of names in the comments from YouTube viewers for calling the cops and not just towing it out into the street so the cops would tow it. Hindsight is 20/20.
Then the camper was reported stolen
I also got many useful comments from YouTube about how we should burn it, shoot the camper, sawzall it, tow it to the dump, make it into a second unit, leave drugs in it and call the cops, and much more. Instead of committing a felony by shooting the camper or buying drugs, we left another notice on it saying it would be towed and to move it immediately hoping the owners would move it. It was not moved, but Nikki received a call from the police again. The police said the camper was reported stolen in another town and the owners wanted it back. Yes! The camper would be moved, no crimes were committed by us, it cost us nothing but some time and made for an interesting video.
In the back of my head, this scenario seemed off. First, why would anyone steal this camper? Second, if someone did steal this camper would the owners really want it back? Third, why was it reported stolen more than a week after it was left in our yard?
The people never got the camper. In fact, they wrote on the note we left saying to please not tow it that it would be moved very soon. However, it was not moved for another week. Then the people called our front desk at Blue Steel Real Estate and said they had nowhere to put it. Now I knew it was never stolen and they were just trying to buy time. I thought the police would take the manner more seriously since a crime was reported, but they did not seem to care.
How did we get rid of the camper from my house flip?
The owners were not going to move the camper, the police or city were not going to do anything, and we were not supposed to move it from the flip either. Luckily one day the camper vanished. I have no idea how it happened, but it was not me that moved it. You can see the video below I did after the camper was moved, which has also had over 50,000 views and people are still calling me names….
What we learned from someone leaving a camper at my house flip
I was also told that I was a horrible house flipper because I did not move this camper right away. I did not know moving campers was a sign of how well you flip houses, but you learn something new every day. In the future we now know that:
- It is useless to call the police for private property matters like this.
- The towing companies are mostly useless in these situations, especially for campers.
- We should have had a fence up or some kind of blockade to prevent this in the future.
- Someone mentioned the fire department may be of more help in the future.
Someone on YouTube did have a really good idea, but I saw it after the camper was gone. We should have towed it to the house of the people who reported it stolen and left it in their yard. I wish I would have seen this, but we also did not know where they lived. I did get their names from the police, but we could not find an address for them. I did see that the owner was arrested a couple of times in the last year so that made me glad I did not destroy the camper, and then they vandalized the house.
The camper is gone, I am still being called names on YouTube (lol), and it cost is nothing to move. It worked out in the end, made for an interesting story, and we learned a few things. Oh, I was also accused of buying the camper and moving it there myself to get YouTube views by more than one person as well.