CAPE CORAL, FL - It's a homeowner's rental nightmare. A Cape Coral man comes back from overseas to find his locks changed and his property damaged. Police say someone used it as a grow house and that's just the beginning. The homeowner's identity had also been stolen.
It's a phone call Scott Sportt wishes he didn't make. He called his tenant to say he was heading home. When Sportt got to his property, his keys didn't work and neither did his garage remote.
"The guy disappeared," Sportt said.
Sportt says his tenant was good; he came recommended. He was even paid up through April 1, but was nowhere to be found. Scott turned to neighbors.
"Yes, that was a little bit weird," recalls neighbor Alicia Vazquez thinking about the young renter backing his van into the garage with two other men. Neighbors say they noticed strange activity and the renter, Yoel Rendondo, had boarded up the home's windows.
Then Scott went inside his home.
"When I came in, I noticed he nailed the doors here and here," he said.
After taking a look around with neighbors, he knew why.
It was the smell, the things he saw; the way everything was that tipped them off.
Police believe it had been used as a marijuana grow house, but the renter had tried to cover it up before he ran off. There was new paint, patch work on the walls, new vents and a quick trip to the attic revealed new air ducts.
But all the damage is the least of Sportt's problems.
"The first thing I asked is 'is this letter a mistake?'" he said.
Scott had mail coming to this address. His W-2 was missing and his 2013 tax return had been filed.
"I wasn't the one who had filed it," Sportt said. The return is now on hold and Scott is trying to sort it out.
Police are looking for the renter. We spoke with his family; they say he went back to Cuba.
"You hope it doesn't happen to you, but it shows it can happen to anybody," says Sportt.
Article by Christina Lesby, Reporter www.nbc-2.com