The rent was due and a young Macon woman realized in late February that she couldn’t afford another month in the Davis Street house where she was staying near Freedom Park. She began moving out Feb. 26, hauling most of her belongings elsewhere. That night she stayed at the Davis Street house and slept in a sleeping bag. She planned to move the rest of her things the next day. But sometime in the night she was, as a Bibb County sheriff’s report noted, “awakened by a kick.” Her landlord was in the house, standing beside her. She told the police that the landlord, a 67-year-old Jones County man, called her “insulting names” and used profanity, saying, “You’re just gonna leave me like this, huh?” The place was a mess. The woman, 23, said she had to work the next day but would return by noon to gather her stuff and clean up trash that littered the residence. By the time she got back the next day the locks had been changed and her belongings were stuffed in garbage cans outside. A tire that belonged to her mother’s car, one the young woman had been storing, was gone. The young woman called the landlord to ask what was going on. He offered to sell the tire back to her for $50, she said, and that is when she called the cops. While a deputy was there with her, the landlord showed up. The man looked at the deputy and grinned. “Come on now,” the landlord said, “you know how these stupid people are.” Asked why he’d dumped the woman’s belongings, the landlord reportedly said, “It’s just a bunch of trash. ... You know better than I do what these people do and how they are.” The landlord is a white man and the tenant is a black woman. The deputy asked about the missing tire. “Oh, yeah. I got that thing,” the landlord replied. “It’s down in my storage building. ... If they want it, I’d be glad to sell it back to them.” The deputy explained that taking a tenant’s property was stealing. The landlord sent his nephew to fetch the tire. The deputy then told the landlord to dig his tenant’s belongings — pots, pans, shoes and clothes — out of the trash. Some of the things were ruined because they’d been in the garbage bins, which neighbors also use. The tenant decided to press charges. “It will be a cold day in hell,” the landlord told the deputy, “when I go to jail over stupid people like this.” But jail is where he went, charged with theft and criminal trespassing.
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