Massachusetts Man Serves House Arrest in Driveway Because House is Condemned | NECN


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Massachusetts Man Serves House Arrest in Driveway Because House is Condemned

Judge ordered Christopher Bernard to be on a GPS monitoring bracelet at the home



    (Published Monday, Sept. 26, 2016)

    A Massachusetts man is being forced to serve his house arrest inside a parked van in his Millbury driveway because his home has been condemned.

    "It wasn't destroyed when I left," 44-year-old Christopher Bernard told necn.

    Bernard was in jail on a probation violation in July when the board of health and animal control officers responded to complaints from neighbors about his home on Hayward Lane.

    Authorities found piles of trash, animal feces, more than a dozen cats and three dogs with flea infestations and other ailments.

    Bernard was charged with animal cruelty and the house was condemned.

    "When I came back to the house, it was boarded up, they shut the water and sewer off," Bernard said.

    But Bernard was sent to live at the home anyway, and in fact he's required to live there, ordered by a judge to be on a GPS monitoring bracelet under house arrest.

    And since he can't live inside his house, Bernard lives in his van, overlooking Dorothy Pond.

    "It's just like camping for a couple of weeks," said Bernard, "Not too bad, it's better than jail!"

    But the situation has baffled town officials.

    "It didn't seem to me like the first place I would put somebody in a van in the driveway of a condemned house," said Interim Millbury Town Manager Bernard Plante.

    The house is now for sale, and Bernard's realtor told necn he has a buyer and plans to close by October 7.

    The sale is something the town and its attorneys will be watching closely.

    "I want to make sure we get the back taxes, the utilities are paid, and I want to make sure the clean up is involved in the sale of the house," Plante said.

    And that would be welcome news for neighbors who said they are sick of what some have called an eyesore.

    "Brings our values down," neighbor Chris Gardner said.

    "There's going to be hopefully somebody taking it and demolishing and putting up a beautiful new house," said another neighbor, Cindy Bunnewith.

    Town officials have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. to make sure they have all the proper liens in place to recoup what's owed to the town.

    Bernard is due back in court October 19, but says he'll go back sooner to modify his home confinement details if the house sale goes through.

    As for where he'll live, he says it definitely won't be his van.

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