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Alleged squatter in South SF home arrested after standoff

(BCN) — A man has been charged with burglary after allegedly squatting in the home of a South San Francisco couple and causing several thousand dollars in damage while the homeowners were on vacation.

On Saturday, an individual the homeowners hired to watch their pets found 43-year-old Levi Joe Smith, of Forestville, in the South San Francisco home on Lassen Street. According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, Smith emphatically claimed that he was the owner and that she was at the wrong address.

The pet sitter called the homeowners, who reported it to the police.

South San Francisco police found evidence of forced entry in the back of the home when they arrived. Police called the home’s landline and Smith answered, giving a false name, prosecutors said.

At the home, Smith allegedly brandished a knife and threatened officers. After a two-hour standoff, a SWAT team was able to enter the home and arrest Smith, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Once inside, trash and food waste were strewn through the home and an estimated $20,000 in damages had been done to the interior, prosecutors said.

During his initial felony arraignment Monday, he refused to leave jail and go to court. He again refused to come to court Tuesday and a judge appointed the county’s Private Defender Program to represent him. A defense attorney entered a not guilty plea to the charges against Smith and his bail was set at $75,000, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

He will return to court on July 31 for a preliminary hearing.

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