Officials in a North Texas county have marshaled what they say is a strong response to a wave of squatters trying to claim homes through an obscure state statute called "adverse possession."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that nine people in Tarrant County have been indicted on charges related to unlawful trespassing or possession of vacant homes.
Adverse possession allows someone to take ownership of otherwise unclaimed land after a period of time, typically 10 years. But several people in Dallas-Fort Worth tried to file paperwork on foreclosures or temporarily empty homes.
About 17,000 property owners have signed up for alerts if someone files paperwork on their property.
In one case, authorities say someone tried to take over the home of a person being treated for cancer in Houston.