We’ve all heard the saying, “no good deed goes unnoticed”, but if you ask Pastor Tami Robinson, her good deed got noticed and also had her arrested. Pastor Tami Robinson said she was just doing God’s work by moving people into two abandoned homes in the Florida county of Hillsborough. Robinson filled out paperwork with the Property Appraiser’s Office and then changed the locks on the doors. She supplied the new tenants with keys to their new home.
The pastor’s good deed turned into an illegal crime. According to the Hillsborough County’s Sheriff Office, her crime involved burglary, fraud and grand theft. The pastor, along with another church member, were eventually arrested. Robinson is now suing the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office accusing them of harassment and racial prejudice. According to Robinson, she did not break the law because she took possession of the houses through an obscure legal concept called “adverse possession.” Florida Statute 95.18 allows people to request that a judge give them permission to take possession of a home if it has been abandoned with the condition that they, amongst other things, fix the home up, occupy it and pay the taxes for at least seven years. Robinson says that she notified the homeowners through writing that she was going to attempt adverse possession.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Robinson expressed her displeasure at being arrested because she says that if the owners of the home had asked the tenants to vacate the home, they would have done so without having to have deputies involved. Robinson said, “I didn’t want to do anything illegal and if this is so illegal, why does no one stop you and say, ‘You can be put in jail, be called a criminal, be charged with grand theft?’ At no time during my filing — or while talking to the Property Appraiser’s Office — was I told this.”
According to deputies, one of the homeowners was in Texas at an Air Force Base, in active service while the other owner was planning to sell the home in a short-sale.