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Abandoned homes create many problems

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Abandoned homes and properties aren't too hard to find. But these homes are more than just an eyesore.

Luther Coart Johnson's house suffered severe fire damage two years ago. But that hasn't stopped trespassers from entering it and stealing from him.

"We've had a couple of different items that we know were in there that are no longer in there," Johnson said. "So we know people have been in and out. I actually ran one person off."

Johnson says trespassers entering his home, which is in the process of being condemned, is risky.

"Any sane thinking person would know that it's dangerous to go in there," he said.

But it isn't just safety risks that abandoned homes and properties create.

"We definitely don't want vacant homes because as they deteriorate, that can decrease the tax value," said Duane Holder, Chief Financial Officer in Pitt County.

On one property in Stokes, the home had to be torn down after suffering fire damage. The loss of the home decreased the property tax collected by the county from $198.45 in 2005, to $127.36 in 2013.

County officials say that while it is tax revenue lost, the problem of abandoned homes and properties would have to become much bigger to really impact the total amount of taxes collected.
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