Imagine finding a stranger in your yard in the middle of the night doing drugs and rifling through your trash. That's what people in one Lansing neighborhood have been dealing with, and they believe he might have mental issues.
"When you look out your house window at 3 in the morning, you got somebody sitting out there in pitch black, and you have no idea who it is," Tamara Arend said.
Arend and her neighbors on Dakin Street are living through it day and night. The middle-aged man knocks over trash cans, steals things from yards, and even does drugs.
"He had a bag of trash with cigarette butts, rotted food he had dumped all through here [in my yard]," Arend said. "He gets in people's vehicles, takes their belongings out, he goes up on their porches. He takes their brooms, their rakes, their coolers."
It's been going on for months, but recently got worse.
"It's not safe. He's here everyday. Somebody has got to be taking care of him, why aren't they?" elderly neighbor Nellie M. Squires said.
People who live on the street believe he has mental issues. They've started giving him warm clothes and water, and tried contacting several agencies to help the man, most recently the mayor and Lansing Police Department.
"We try to locate maybe a parent or friend or guardian that's involved," Lansing Police Officer Robert Merritt said. "You try to have them take the steps or measures to get the person help. We try as LPD to resolve the issue without going to that next step of putting handcuffs on somebody."
An officer responded around 2 a.m. this morning when the man was in Arend's yard again. He was cooperative, and the officer took him to the Community Mental Health facility to be checked out. But neighbors worry it's not enough
"We need to get him help before he gets hurt or hurts someone else," Arend said.
Volunteers of America said they offer outreach programs, but they don't have the resources to physically go get the man and bring him to the shelter.
The Michigan Department of Human Services wouldn't confirm if they work with the man, and the Community Mental Health authority did not return our calls.
WILX will let you know if or when this situation is resolved.