Homeless camp cleared out after complaints

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LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – A homeless camp in Lee County was cleared out after an investigation by the sheriff’s department and numerous complaints from businesses, residents and property owners.

For months now, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said his deputies have answered an increasing number of calls in the Auburn community.

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“Individuals are rambling through people’s cars, kicking on doors, not knowing where they’re at, and most of these people are not from this particular area,” said Sheriff Johnson.

At any given time, Sheriff Johnson estimated as many as 20 people lived throughout a five-acre parcel of land right off Auburn Road.

Recently, the sheriff got the okay from landowners to evict those who have set up camp behind a vacant mobile home and throughout a wooded area.

“A lot of times your hands are tied, in what you can and can’t do, this is first break we got and we want the community to know we’re doing everything we can to try and clean it up,” Johnson said.

It took only minutes for authorities to fill a trailer with items taken from the homeless encampment, there are construction lights, a pressure washer, a lot of power tools, all of the merchandise, Sheriff Johnson said, was stolen.

“Radios, televisions, extension cords, all sorts of stuff here you know doesn’t belong to these people,” said Sheriff Johnson.

Bryon Harris owns the Auburn Friendly Village Mobile Home Park across the street from the homeless camp.

He said the camp and its residents have caused many problems.

“The neighborhood has been going downhill, we had to install security cameras. The only issue I’ve had recently is them parking on our property, and going over to visit them, apparently for prostitution,” said Harris.

Sheriff Johnson said some of the camp’s residents have been arrested recently on drug-related charges.

Also,  District One Supervisor Phil Morgan said the recently passed nuisance property ordinance will allow the county to clean up properties that are a threat to the public’s safety, health and welfare.

Residents of the Auburn Community will have a chance to talk with law enforcement, and other officials about possible options to clean up the area at a meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at Tombigbee Electric Offices on Auburn Road.

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