MESA, AZ - An alert neighbor is being credited with helping to stop a burglary at a nearby home.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Aug. 31 they were approached by a neighbor who was looking after a friend’s home near University Drive and Hawes Road.
The neighbor reported that someone had been in the home and taken property from inside the house and stacked it in the carport.
Deputies went to check on the house and reportedly found a "handwritten homestead notice" taped to the front window. The notice was signed by 39-year-old James Anthony Knapick.
Deputies contacted the homeowner who told them that no one was supposed to be in the home, court paperwork said.
Deputies contacted Knapick as he was re-entering the home. Knapick allegedly admitted to being in the home for the past couple of days. He also admitted to stacking the property in the carport. He reportedly told deputies that he thought the homeowner was deceased and he could claim his property under the homestead law.
Deputies arrested him and he has been charged with criminal trespassing.