MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ)
How would you feel if your neighbors are ex-cons living next door to you? What if you found out they are registered sex offenders. Neighbors were so concerned, one of them offered to buy the home.
But the deal fell through and now it looks like the sex offenders may be there to stay.
The battle has been brewing for a few months; neighbors thought it was coming to an end. One neighbor was willing to spend over $500,000 to buy the home and force the registered sex offenders out.
The sellers backed out of the deal at the last minute, and the people living there say they're not planning to leave. Neighbors say they're planning another protest.
"I feel so strongly about not having them as neighbors I was spending my own money to purchase the home," said Carla Jetton.
Jetton nearly completed the purchase of the home, but days before the close of escrow the owners backed out and kept the home.
"I don't understand how they can do it, I don't understand, I'm frustrated, I want my kids to be safe," said Jetton.
Neighbors aren't the only ones frustrated, so are the men who live here.
"I've done my time, others guy have done their time, we've done everything we're supposed to be doing," said Travis Owens.
Travis Owens is a level 3 sex offenders and says they keep to themselves and don't bother anyone. The owners Steve and Deborah Schmidt are Christian missionaries, who have opened their home to people like Travis and are helping them get back on their feet.
"My life has been turned around through becoming a Christian, we've moved on, we've done everything we're supposed to be doing. Polygraphs and all that crap, they just won't leave us alone," said Owens.
Just as the men don't plan on leaving, the neighbors don't plan to back down, they're doing everything they can to force the sex offenders out. Putting up these signs, and even planning to protest in front of the home.
"I didn't even want to explain to my kids what sex offenders are now," said Jetton.
"Nothing has happened, nothing is gonna happen, but they act like we're out every day committing new crimes," said Owens.
Maricopa County officials say the owners did not have the proper permits in the first place to operate a group home. An investigation was launched but closed after when it appears the owners were going to sell the house and move. County officials say the investigation was re-opened, and zoning officials will be looking into possible violations