Mesa woman plans changes after squatters vandalize home, steal belongings

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 14:03:29-04

NOTE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Airbnb as the online service used to make this purchase. That was incorrect, and we deeply apologize for the mistake.

With online services it's never been easier or more common to rent your home as a vacation rental. But one Valley woman had a rental nightmare, as an uninvited guest overstayed her welcome. 

Carla Jetton came home to her east Mesa property to find her house a mess and an explicit message spray painted on her wall. 

"There's poop smeared on the white bed spread," said Jetton. 

Jetton does not live in the home. She uses it as an income property for short term vacation rentals. 

While vacationing herself in Costa Rica, a woman contacted her to set up a reservation. 

"I sent her an invoice and she didn't pay," said Jetton. "Then my friend said, 'Someone is in your house.'"

Jetton is still trying to figure out how the woman got inside the home, wondering if the website provided the door code. 

"I was a little worried, but I had a bleeding heart for her because she's a single mom like me," said Jetton. "I  thought, that's fine and she will pay."

But the woman never paid. And a U-Haul truck was spotted outside in the driveway. 

Jetton called police, who claimed it was a civil issue if there was a rental agreement. But Jetton said the woman never followed the procedures for payment and contract agreement on the website. 

After several days of no payment and more police visits, Carla cut the power to the home. 

And the family finally left. 

"I feel like she's a con artist and she's done this before," said Jetton. 

Jetton got back in town to find a lot of small pieces missing from her house and damage. 

"It makes me feel like selling my house," said Jetton. 

And perhaps the most bizarre part: the woman wrote up a stellar review online saying how much she enjoyed her stay.