A “serial squatter,” who was last reportedly seen fraudulently living in a Texas home, is officially a wanted woman in the state, police said.
The Rowlett Police Department charged Heather Schwab this week with fraudulent securing of document execution of over $30,000 and less than $150,000, a felony, a police spokeswoman told reporters on Thursday. The spokeswoman noted that the charge was an uncommon one that she and a detective had never seen before – though that does not mean the department had never previously issued such a charge.
Police said they believe Schwab is likely still in the state and is calling on members of the public to come forward with any tips on her whereabouts.
Schwab is a convicted fraudster who was sentenced in 2018 in Colorado for felony identity theft in connection to serial squatting. She was released in 2020 after serving only 16 months behind bars and came back into the public spotlight this year when a Rowlett homeowner, Jessica Davis, sounded the alarm that a woman allegedly using a false identity moved into her house without paying rent.
An alleged squatter seen peering from a closet when the homeowner tried to inspect the house. (Jessica Davis )
“Even though I am happy that there is a warrant for Heather’s arrest, I feel like this could have been dealt with earlier if the Dallas County and Rowlett Police did not ignore my calls for help, my proof of fraud, and my wants on filing a report on Heather at the beginning,” Davis told reporters on Thursday.
Schwab’s charge stems from a rental agreement she made with Davis, pledging she would pay $3,100 per month in a 12-month contract, police said.
Davis spoke to reporters earlier this fall when Schwab was still squatting in the home and highlighted then that she called many local officials for assistance on the matter, but she was told the matter was a civil case.
Empty bottles and food on kitchen counter in home targeted by alleged “serial squatter.” (Jessica Davis )
“I called the police. I called the DA. I called the chief of police. The assistant chief of police. The Justice Department and the courts, like if I could get a number, I called it,” Davis said in September.
Davis and her husband, Colin Davis, purchased their first home in December in Rowlett, roughly 20 miles outside of Dallas. The home, which has four bedrooms, a pool and a hot tub, was a dream for the family before Davis had to relocate to Florida for her job about six months ago.
The couple did not want to sell the property so soon after purchasing it and decided to rent it out. They posted listings on Apartments.com and Zillow to find prospective tenants and wound up in a nightmare scenario with Schwab, who allegedly used a false identity to move into the home.
Davis said she received an initial message from a hopeful tenant about the property, which came in under the name “Heather Schwab,” but the woman told Davis that she was using her friend’s Zillow account and claimed her actual name was Rayes Ruybal.
The empty hot tub at the Texas home that was recently vacated by a squatter. (Jessica Davis )
Everything appeared above board with the application, and Davis allowed the woman and her 17-year-old son, who Davis said has autism, move into the home early as payments for the house were processing. However, the payments failed, according to Davis, and the homeowners never received money from the woman.
Davis began her own sleuthing of the woman after police repeatedly told her it was a civil matter, she said at the time.
Davis then investigated the name Heather Schwab and discovered news links from 2018 reporting on her arrest and subsequent conviction on felony identity theft charges from alleged serial squatting in Adams County, Colorado. She and her husband William Schwab were accused of renting and living on properties but never paying landlords.
Homeowner Jessica Davis says a squatter who took over her home tried to whitewash the fireplace. (Jessica Davis )
Prosecutors dubbed Schwab a “serial squatter,” while the judge who presided over her case in 2018 said her crimes were “appalling.”
Davis and her husband hired a lawyer after the discovery and began filing eviction notices to no avail. Local media began investigating the matter last month, which Davis attributed to helping speed along the process of getting the squatter and her son out of the house.
Schwab finally moved out late last month, Davis said, leaving the home stinking of urine and cigarette smoke, and trashed with food and debris.
Jessica Davis and her husband Colin Davis are fighting an alleged squatter who took over their home. (Jessica Davis )
“They smelled urine. They smelled smoke,” Davis recounted of what her husband and police found when they entered the home. “Both of the toilets are clogged with mounds of toilet paper and other seemingly fluids.”
Davis lamented in her comment to reporters on Thursday that she had hoped local police would have acted much sooner when she discovered the squatter in her home, arguing that “negligence and lack of communication is heavy on the department on this matter” and that she is “paying for it.”
“I was even told that I was not a victim. According to Rowlett Police, they even admitted they ignored me [until] the local news got involved,” she said. “…I hope the higher up or DA will look at what happened and fix the issues in the law department.”
The homeowner said the squatting issue has left her financially strapped and living with family members to save money.
The property was supposed to generate $2,850 in rent each month, in addition to a $300 monthly bill for weekly pool services. Instead, Davis did not receive any payments from the woman for the three months she is owed and is looking at a $1,500 water bill, electric bills, legal fees, mortgage payments and expensive cleaning fees.
Police told reporters that Schwab was last seen driving a 2005 Dodge Ram with a Colorado license plate reading ZOS460.
If arrested and found guilty, Schwab faces up to 10 years in prison or a $10,000 fine.