Determined neighbor gets eyesore, safety concern removed from neighborhood

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - People living in a Mid-South neighborhood called WMC Action News 5 for help in getting action taken against an illegal campground that has become home to the homeless. We were able to give them what they were looking for - help.

"Thank you. I'm happy. I'm as happy as I can be," Tonya Martin said.

For more than 10 years, neighbors have put up with people camping out in an old tour bus, but now they're fed up. The rumor is the bus was once a Beatles Tour Bus. The bus broke down and was left under the Union Avenue overpass, just feet away from train tracks near the Humes Heights neighborhood.

We're not sure if the bus was actually a Beatles Tour Bus or not, but what we do know is that it has been sitting in the same spot it broke down in for more than 10 years.

Tonya Martin said the people who live at this illegal campground are dangerous.

"I turned around and there was a guy standing in my kitchen. He assaulted me and I punched him back. And then he picked up my key chain, which had mace, and maced me out the front door," she said. "And maced me out the front door and stole my purse and all my money."

The robbery was not random. Martin said her attacker was homeless and had been living in the abandoned bus, spying on her, and taking things from her property.

"He was living in that bus," Martin said. "He had things that belonged to me on that bus."

The reason Martin called WMC 10 years after the attack is because she learned someone was living in the bus again.

"I want those guys to find a place to live," Martin said. "I just want that bus gone."

At the bus was a fire pit, pots and pans, a make-shift closet, and even a chandelier.

"I don't really want to talk about something outside my circumstances," the man living in the bus said.

The man said he wasn't the primary tenant of the bus.

"I'll tell him about it and I guess it will be left up to him," the man said.

Martin said she was told the bus sits on land owned by the state.

WMC called the City of Memphis and contacted the Shelby County Tax Assessor's Office. The land was found to be private property.

The Shelby County tax assessors map shows what appears to be the bus on property owned by Mid-South Home Buyers.

A female employee told us Mid-South Home Buyers didn't own the property. Then, hours later, the owner called back and after doing some research he said he learned the company did own the land.

"We were surprised to find there was a bus that had been there for many years on our newly acquired property," Terry Kerr said. "We understand the concerns of our neighbors and the safety concerns for all and appreciate the work Channel 5 and the city are doing to TCB."

Kerr offered to move the bus, but before he even had the chance Memphis Code Enforcement took action and hauled away the eyesore. It all happened thanks to one determined neighbor and help from WMC Action News 5 Investigators.

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