Kennewick Business Workers Concerned About Squatters in Building - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick Business Workers Concerned About Squatters in Building

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - NBC Right Now taking a look at some transient activity reported in Kennewick off Clearwater Avenue.

There are more than 30 businesses in the Clearwater West Business Complex and the buildings have been here since the 70's. Crime is not common there, but recently some squatters have been using some open space in a building to sleep, and possibly do drugs.

"That section is really easy to get into because there's stairs that go out there. Everything else seems to be closed off alright," said tenant Daniel Pena.

Daniel Pena has been a tenant there for about six months. He was shocked to hear squatters were frequenting his place of business.

"Now that I know there's actually like people coming here at night and stuff. There's a lot of stuff that I keep in my office I wouldn't want anyone else getting a hold of," he said.

"It's frustrating. It obviously makes our tenants feel unsafe which we really don't like. We want to make sure they feel safe in their place of business," said building owner Flynn Thurston.

Flynn Thurston's family has owned the Clearwater West Business Complex for the last ten years. They say they have never had a problem like this before.

Management contacted Kennewick police and now the situation is being closely monitored.

"We also have been making an effort to really brighten up the parking lot and all the areas so there are no dark spaces for them to find and camp out in," Thurston said.

Kennewick police say it is rare for transients to set up camp in a business, it is usually under a bridge or in a park.

"Regardless of whether they belong there or not, you are entering somebody's home. They're going to defend it. So if you just stumble across somebody inside a building, it's best to back off and give them space. Call us and report it," said Mike Blatman with the Kennewick Police Department.

There are places like the mission and other shelters where transients are invited to go for overnight stays. However, things like drug use are not allowed at the shelters.